Based on one of the most controversial novels still studied in the classroom, a young Nurse Ratched returns in the dark, blood-soaked Netflix drama Ratched. Ryan Murphy provides another haunting, often disturbing account of a nurse within the walls of a psychiatric ward that is nothing less than unsettling. It’s a perfect watch for fans of American Horror Story. With grim, eerie storytelling and an excellent performance from Sarah Paulson, Ratched provides just enough chills and spooky material to launch the fall season and prepare audiences for Halloween. 

Mildred Ratched will do anything to get her dream job—being a nurse under the leadership of the infamous Dr. Richard Hanover. With coercion and falsity, Nurse Ratched finds herself working among some of the most disturbed and violent patients in the country, a famous killer among them. As she acclimates herself with the staff and the patients, she soon discovers Dr. Hanover is less than admirable, using inhuman torture to “correct” even the most innocent of pleasures—sexual drive and homosexuality among them.

Aware of the cruelty and barbaric treatments for even the most innocent of victims, Mildred must decide either to cling to her role as nurse and turn a blind eye to the gore and abuse she encounters each day in the ward or defy Dr. Hanover and rescue the patients she knows are more sane than the doctor will admit. 

Ratched is unflinching in its storytelling and shockingly graphic, both in violence and sexuality. For those who are familiar with Ryan Murphy’s previous work, blood, sinister events, and cruelty are not foreign ideas—though Ratched seems to add increasingly dark and disturbing plotlines and scenes, some begging audiences to watch with hands covering their eyes.

While enjoyable and certainly guilty-pleasure entertainment, Ratched is definitely an acquired taste, and many viewers will find the constant brutality and vulgar material a bit over the top in this series. Well-rendered and striking in appearance, this story is based on One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and is anything but a happy ending. It incorporates plenty of questionable content to leave a bitter taste in audiences’ mouths and plenty of nightmares waiting to be had. 

Nurse Ratched is as tormented as the patients she helps within the confines of the hospital. Exposing the fragility of human nature and the shame surrounding desires of many kinds, Ratched speaks to relevant societal issues with an added dose of murder and suspense. Both a thriller and a horror series, Ratched reaches complete darkness with few laughs or levity to provide watchers. For those able to endure the violence and disturbing nature of the series, Ratched is certain to entertain and enthrall as audiences follow Mildred on her road to self-discovery, love, and immorality.

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