Elisabeth Moss’s Reality Is Unstable in the Trailer for Apple TV’s Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls, an absolutely unnerving novel, is about to be what looks like an equally unnerving streaming series—a “metaphysical thriller,” as Apple is calling it. A new trailer gives very little away, but gets at the heart of what’s eating at Kirby Mazrachi (Moss): A serial killer almost got her once, and her world won’t quite hold still. “After what he did,” she says, “things aren’t how they should be.”

What things? All kinds of things. Her pet. Her outfits. People, too. And the killer himself is incredibly elusive, for reasons Apple obviously does not want to spell out. The summary says only:

Shining Girls follows Kirby Mazrachi (Moss), a Chicago newspaper archivist whose journalistic ambitions were put on hold after enduring a traumatic assault. When Kirby learns that a recent murder mirrors her own case, she partners with seasoned, yet troubled reporter Dan Velazquez (played by Wagner Moura), to uncover her attacker’s identity. As they realize these cold cases are inextricably linked, their own personal traumas and Kirby’s blurred reality allow her assailant to remain one step ahead.

The trailer is mostly atmosphere and dread, which is accurate to my memory of reading the novel, but it’s clever how it emphasizes the shiftiness of Kirby’s world—making it clear there are SFF elements are play–without giving away what makes this serial killer particularly elusive. It’s not exactly a twist in the book (the cover copy spells it out!) but Apple seems to want to do something else here.

Shining Girls (the show seems to have dropped the The from the book’s title) is named after the victims; they glow, bright with potential, to their would-be killer. Michelle McLaren (Game of Thrones) directs the first two episodes; the showrunner is Silka Luisa (Strange Angel). The first three episodes premiere on Apple TV+ on April 29th, with the rest following weekly.

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