Marisol manages to spark a mass awakening and subsequent jailbreak (doling out some violent payback to her rapist, another unwilling “patient,” on the way out) but the sadness over the lost children—especially Ricky (Ian Inigo), a shy orphan she met on the crossing—lingers, as well as the intense anger that the U. S. would even facilitate such a cruel, dehumanizing “solution” in the first place. “Culture Shock” isn’t particularly subtle, and its question-reality framework has already been explored in greater depth by movies like The Matrix and Sleep Dealer.
It also featured a Stepford-ish housewife, a woman whose foggy memories of her very early childhood hint at unusual experiences she can’t quite explain—until she’s snatched up by a shadowy group that’s like ICE meets the Men in Black, locked up in a detention center, and informed that she’s an illegal visitor from another dimension who’s about to be sent back “home. “Culture Shock” and “Point of Origin” are both reacting to similar issues, and they both put a chilling new perspective on what’s already a deeply chilling reality.
But it’s not just the fact that she’s a woman working in the horror genre that makes Guerrero uniquely suited to tell a tale like “Culture Shock. ” Her background—she was born in Mexico and moved to Canada as a young teen—also helps lend the story more authenticity.
But the series has been surprisingly diverse, particularly when it comes to tone—and “Culture Shock,” the Fourth of July entry, is maybe the bleakest Into the Dark yet. Marisol at the border.
But what Marisol soon figures out is that the candy-colored American town that’s excitedly prepping for July 4 exists only in a computer program; in real life, Marisol and her fellow undocumented immigrants are unconscious in a grimy lab with their brains hooked into a virtual-reality network.