Review: 50 States of Fright gives Danay Garcia a chance to shine

Sam Raimi’s Quibi series 50 States of Fright is a thriller that gives Fear the Walking Dead star Danay Garcia the opportunity to showcase her immense talent.

It’s hard to imagine a series filmed in short, ten-minutes-or-less segments being able to captivate its audience, but Sam Raimi’s 50 States of Fright on Quibi does just that. Fear the Walking Dead’s Danay Garcia stars in the Florida episode, “Destino”, a story about a stolen goat that goes horribly wrong.

Once you start the episode it’s like a nightmare that won’t let you wake up. In a good way.

“Destino” follows a group of police officers in Miami. Garcia plays Vasquez, a woman who grew up in the neighborhoods she’s patrolling with her partner. A call comes in about a stolen goat and Vasquez wants to take the call but her partner refuses. When the responding officers stop responding, they’re forced to investigate. What they find at the crime scene, though, is unlike anything they could have imagined…or is it?

The story comes to life through their body cameras, dashboard cameras and “found footage” from security cameras. This raw and unfiltered filming style lends to the overall creepiness, as the viewer is only allowed to see what the body camera reveals.

Quibi’s concept is that its original content is optimized for viewing on cell phones, so each episode is very short. The first segment is roughly three minutes long, and the second episode clocks in at just over six minutes. (The third episode was not released as of this writing) The format forces very tight storytelling, so the action begins in the very first frames and it never lets up. Suspense builds quickly and remains through the end of each episode, leading immediately into the next segment.

Danay Garcia shines in “Destino”. Garcia was perfectly cast for this role, and she delivers. She really steps into the spotlight in the second installment and never lets go. Vasquez clearly knows more than she’s letting on, but she’s not saying anything. No matter how terrifying the situation, Garcia’s Vasquez remains cool, calm and collected, and that’s a tribute to Garcia, who brings the same qualities to her role on Fear the Walking Dead.

Garcia plays Vasquez with genuine authenticity. In real life, Garcia is always smiling and full of warmth, but when she steps into a role she goes all-in. Though police procedurals are commonplace across the television landscape, playing a police officer isn’t easy. However, Garcia makes playing a police officer effortless. Vasquez is the neighborhood beat cop who knows the locals and fits into the community.

Fear the Walking Dead fans will see many parallels between Garcia’s Fear TWD character, Luciana Galvez, and Officer Vasquez. It isn’t difficult to imagine Luciana being a lot like Vasquez before the zombie apocalypse obliterated civilized society. Vasquez closely resembles Luciana at La Colonia when Nick Clark arrived there in season 2. She’s a leader and she’s looking out for the people around her, even when she knows that nothing about the situation is safe.

50 States of Fright is definitely worth checking out. It’s one of many shows on the fledgling streaming site but it comes loaded with ready-to-binge content, with new episodes available daily. You can also catch Danay Garcia as Luciana when Fear the Walking Dead season 6 airs this summer.