Found footage movies seem to be everywhere these days.
Sure, The Blair Witch Project followed up by the Paranormal Activity series really struck a chord in the scare department, but the genre branched out beyond just the horror and spread into party movies like Project X, sci-fi flicks like Cloverfield, and the more recent superhero movie, Chronicle.
So it's really no surprise that Supernatural jumped on board to try it out for "Bitten." In fact, it's a wonder the show never really attempted it before.
Okay, you could say that the Ghostfacers was probably the closest thing, but that was more of a spoof on all of the ghost hunter and paranormal investigator programs. And maybe the characters were a bit more goofy themselves, but it felt like even with the scary aspects, the comedy rang through.
This episode, although it did catch a few good Dean lines about "Clear eyes. Clogged Arteries. Can't Lose," was primarily set in a serious tone. The stuff that we and essentially Sam and Dean saw weren't meant to be laughed at.
And I admire the series' ability to really go out on a limb and try something new. There's such a tendency to stick to what we already know, that giving the shaky cam and new perspective a shot was a bold and daring move. I applaud the efforts.
But I wonder if I would have liked this episode more had it been placed at a later date.
Truly, the whole concept of getting to see the other side was informatively unique and captured the emotional and personal side of the so called monsters. It gave everyone a chance to see beyond just the title of werewolf and recognize the humanity in the characters, the youthful drama between them and the sad consequences without any real say in the matter.
Seeing the trio of friends go from happy-go-lucky to loving the new "superpowers" to falling into something of a bloody tragedy because of that human nature for greed, love, power, pity and hope was a great visual for Sam and Dean. It really illustrated the depth behind just "monsters."
At times the story felt like it dragged on in an effort to establish Brian, Mike and Kate as characters, but for me, I just kept waiting for Sam and Dean. Of course, other times, the turning of events felt rapid fire as if trying to get an entire life's story into one hour, especially near the end with Brian killing Mike, declaring his love for Kate and then suffering death at the hands of her.
It all had a very home video feeling to it and it was easy to get caught up in the camera work. And wasn't it a little odd seeing Sam and Dean show up, but basically nowhere near front and center? Watching them from a far was a brand new experience.
I'm so used to seeing them in the middle of the action that it almost felt like we weren't entirely on an episode of Supernatural, but slowly experiencing and understanding the other side of that hunter world. It was as if Sam and Dean were merely cameos.
Really, that type of outside look felt like something that could have easily been done in the early seasons, as viewers were also trying to learn and experience what the monsters and hunters were like. Similarly, the whole concept of killing a monster because it's a monster resurfaced, but elicited a new response from Dean. Clearly, Purgatory gave him that brand new outlook, but definitely witnessing the tragedy of transforming human into creature had its own emotional impacts.
And maybe it was just me, but for a show that really felt like it was trying to put the focus and attention back primarily on the brothers, this seemed like a real departure from that goal. I missed seeing Sam and Dean in action and getting to the heart of their new-found issues.
I guess after coming off the heals of last week's one-off episode, I'm not sure I was ready to see less of the Winchester bros.
This type of an episode probably could be one to divide the masses into a love it or hate it separation.
It was fine for what it was and I appreciate that in Supernatural Season 8, the writers are still trying new things. And while it was a good ending with a nicely paired song (but a bit of surprise that it wasn't the classic rock we're so used to hearing), I wanted more Sam and Dean time. I almost wish the found footage stopped at the halfway mark to return to the normal viewing experience.
Which is why I wonder if this episode would have been better suited a bit further down the season line, allowing for the main story arc to progress a bit more before the experimental episode kicked into gear. Ultimately, it wasn't a bad hour, but it's also not one I'll be constantly saying "awesome" about.
What did you think? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.