The River Pilot Preview: Oren Peli Seeks Small Screen Scares

The River television series will finally test the waters on ABC tonight marking the second straight night a new pilot has premiered with the name Steven Spielberg attached as an executive producer.

In The River, Paranormal Activity mastermind Oren Peli brings his shaky cam brand of horror to the small screen. Early looks bear a striking resemblance to the franchise that put Peli on the map, so it comes at no surprise that what was proven successful on the big screen has made its way to the small one.

Rather than operating within the confines of a home, The River follows a camera crew deep into the Amazon in response to a beacon that belong to Emmet Cole, an explorer who vanished in the area six months prior with his cameraman. The found footage from the camera crew, that also includes Cole’s wife, child, and the daughter of the missing cameraman, will reveal all sorts of mysterious happenings and things that go bump in the night.

Some The River comparisons are even being drawn to Lost and The X-Files, though in concept only and not in character development. Many critics given early access to The River pilot commended the concept, but had a hard time accepting the dialogue and underdeveloped characters that the concept leans on as a crux.

Peli and his team’s goal with The River is to not only tell an ongoing story, but to deliver frights on a weekly basis. Whether it’s something the audience is privy to seeing or something it can’t, don’t expect a single episode of The River to wash up without the intent to make you jump.

Whether the story can successfully keep up with the steady flow of scares is another matter altogether.

The River stars Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek as Emmet Cole, Joe Anderson as Lincoln Cole, Leslie Hope as Tess Cole, as well as Eloise Mumford, Paul Blackthorne, Thomas Kretschmann, Daniel Zacapa, Shaun Parkes and Paulina Gaitan.

You’ll get to wade through The River when it premieres tonight on ABC at 9pm EST/8 central. In the meantime, check out a collection of The River premiere trailers, clips and images below.

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