The Terror tells a fictionalised account of the expedition of the H.M.Ss Erebus & Terror as they attempt to discover the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. It paints a picture of British colonial hubris that leads to the deaths of the crews of both ships, but not before they're driven to insanity and cannibalism by starvation and lead poisoning.
While the barren, unforgiving, but beautiful icescape seemingly conspires to freeze, crush and starve them to death, the crews also face dangers of their own making from their poisonous and rotting rations, to predators that hide in their midst.
Meanwhile, their presence in the Arctic appears to have brought the ire of Tuunbaq, a supposed supernatural entity in the form of a great Polar Bear capable of easily dismembering a person, and of possibly consuming their soul. How much of the paranormal goings-on are the result of genuine malediction, and how much resides only in the tainted and poisoned minds of the crew is unclear; which of the terrors is greater, those from without or those from within, is a struggle the crew are forced to deal with again and again.
The show splits its locations between the claustrophobia of the cramped ships, and the agoraphobia of the desolate Arctic. Neither place feels safe, and threat and fear permeate every scene. All of it drives desperation and challenges even the most level-headed of characters to maintain any sense of equilibrium.
The Terror is a brilliant horror, with a great cast and a raft of characters who range from admirable to detestable, and who are as complex as they are engaging. It is a gripping, tense and tragic drama that absolutely rewards repeated viewings.
The Terror is available on Shudder.