Who made it?
For most Netflix users who stumble on The OA in the coming weeks, the creative team behind the series will be as mysterious as the unexplained scars on Prairie's back. But to independent film fans, Marling and her co-creator Zal Batmanglij, who directed every episode of the show, are a known force. In 2011 they made The Sound of My Voice, a drama about a magnetic cult leader played by Marling, and in 2013 they again collaborated on The East, a thriller centered around an underground anarchist collective. Combined, these indies have made less than $3 million at the box office. With its millions of subscribers, Netflix will likely be a huge signal boost for the pair.
That film festival pedigree is reflected in the show's visual choices: Batmanglij often keeps his camera tightly focused on Marling, leaving you as disoriented as the character. Despite some surface-level similarities, the show doesn't have the same Spielberg-worshipping '80s nostalgia glow as Stranger Things. With its off-kilter rhythms and wonky plotting, the show is more like the work of Sundance favorite Shane Carruth than of John Carpenter.