The River's producers plot to 'scare the crap out of you' each week

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

Executive producers Zach Estrin and Michael Green have an evil plan. They've put a Paranormal Activity spin on television's newest horror show, The River, and they're plotting to scare you each and every week, starting tonight, with the show's two-hour premiere on ABC.

"This is a family show that will scare the crap out of you," said Estrin, who with Green gave an exclusive interview to Blastr about their new series. "It tickles a certain part of your heart and your brain that you don't normally get. And you certainly don't get traditionally on television."

The series comes from Estrin (Miracles), Green (Heroes), Oren Peli (the mastermind behind Paranormal Activity) and Steven Spielberg. Peli lends his Paranormal Activity tactic of using video cameras to document the action. But if you think you know what type of horror series The River is, think again.

The story follows the search on the Amazon River for a missing famed TV explorer, Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) by Emmet's wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), their adult son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), and a film crew. The River also stars Paul Blackthorne and Eloise Mumford.

"People come out of the pilot with a lot of questions about what the show is going to be like, and we really strive to make it a nice, standalone horror movie every week with some overarching character mysteries," said Estrin. "So each time that you tune in, you'll get your own little beginning-middle-and-end horror movie and some questions to be answered next week."

"Watching the pilot, you might think that it might be all mystery, all serialized, but we were excited to surprise people by not doing that and really just giving full stories every week," said Green.

"We've talked about a lot of different things that are scary out there, and some of them are paranormal, some of them are human, some of them are ourselves, but there will always be something to scare us each and every week," said Estrin.

While the series may kick off with the search for Dad, "we're not going to be the show that for 80 episodes looks for the dad. Each season we're going to wrap up our big story and ask a new question for the next season," said Estrin.

The series is filled with "unique and flawed characters," he said. "These are not squeaky-clean people. These are people who make questionable choices and do some questionable things. So I think it's great to watch these great actors exercise their chops."

The other unique character is the video camera itself, the producers say.

"There's something about it that makes it really immediate. There's something subconscious that happens when the video camera is held by a character in the show, because that camera's reaction becomes a character in the show. So when you see something and you want to jump away, the camera jumps away for you and you feel like, in a way, that's your perspective in there," said Green.

"It's great because there's something about it that really does feel more visceral. We never cut away to the bad guy's POV, the monster's POV, which you do a lot in TV. In this, as the characters experience it, so do you," said Estrin.

Here's a look at The River:

The River airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Are you ready to have your brain tickled by The River?