Home » The Nightmare Cruise With a Killer Duck Furry on the Loose

The Nightmare Cruise With a Killer Duck Furry on the Loose

I was ready to hate Wreck. vibes, like when the new staffers are instructed in orientation to do whatever it takes to keep the cruise’s guests happy: “A guest asks you to build them a pillow fort, you say ‘duck feather or goose.’”

But the staff knows that being young and in international waters is also a prime opportunity to engage in some of their own debaucherous fun—by way of hazing rituals and nightly ragers, for example—in the sweaty bowels of the ship. These grubby party scenes filled with watered-down booze and scrubby snogs infuse Wreck with just enough wanton energy to prove why working on a cruise ship could be appealing to people of a certain age, even if, when sober, the staffers acknowledge the Sacramentum as a type of prison.

But don’t get too comfortable in these scenes of after-hours fun, as there is still a killer duck on the loose—who, by this point, we’ve learned also happens to be the cruise company’s mascot. As the body count piles up, it becomes clear that this duck has a true method to his madness—there are trap doors and secret passageways on the ship.

By the end of Episode 1, what I had initially viewed as a killer character too ridiculous to be feared, was so cheerfully cold-blooded that his visage was suddenly less Daffy and more Pennywise. Scary-masked killers often get big billing—Ghostface, Michael Myers—but there is something particularly chilling about an innocent mask. Think: the baby mask in Happy Death Day, and now this gleeful duck.

The heart of the series is a burgeoning friendship between Jamie and fellow noob Vivian (Thaddea Graham). Both are queer, aboard the ship without the knowledge of their disappointed families, and seem fully game to solve the mystery of the missing Pippa. It’s worth noting that having queer leading characters in horror is still woefully rare. Series creator and writer, BAFTA winner Ryan J. Brown, has said that he wanted the series to be “as gay as possible” from the jump. Both Attitude and Gay Times put Wreck on their best LGBTQ+ shows of 2022 lists.

As the early episodes unfold, director Chris Baugh imbues the story with elements of other teen horror franchises like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, as well as pays homage to horror pantheon like The Exorcist. Still, the young cast and poppy tone manage to make Wreck feel fresh.

Oscar Kennedy

That said, it is not all smooth sailing. There’s an international mafia tie-in that feels far-fetched, and a healthy suspension of disbelief is required to keep the mystery alive. In my lowest moments watching, I wondered if I’d be even half as charmed by Wreck if all the actors had American accents. But then that unexpectedly creepy duck would come along and I’d get swooped back in.

Across the pond, Wreck has already been greenlit for Season 2 and the combination of energy, intrigue, genuine LOLs, and gore make it clear that a re-up was always on the Sacramentum’s map. The idea of being trapped aboard a cruise ship with a killer on the loose is genuinely scary, even if that killer is a ducking duck.

Wreck is streaming now on Hulu.

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March 2023