WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
From a nuclear lake to a haunted forest, journalist David Farrier visits unusual - and often macabre - tourism spots around the world.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
New Zealand journalist David Farrier likes to explore the ugly side of things. Fascinated with everything morbid his curiosity often leads him down some dangerous paths.
From there the birth of his eight-part Netflix series titled, Dark Tourist.
In this docu-series Farrier travels across the globe to the world’s most unlikely tourist spots – from nuclear sites near Fukushima to the much-talked-about Aokigahara suicide forest at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan.
In one episode he stumbles upon a group of bloodthirsty vampires at a birthday party and in another he makes friends with a voodoo priestess. He meets a women obsessed with serial killers and explores the bizarre world of war re-enactments.
The series has a VICE feel to it and Farrier himself gives off some serious Louis Theroux vibes. But not everyone will like the 35-year-old’s obsession with the grim and grotesque and his almost voyeuristic ventures into sacred spaces. Some might question the ethics behind his explorations whilst others will revel in the opportunity to move outside their personal bubbles from the comfort of their armchair.
Driven by his curious nature and journalistic instinct Farrier reveals fascinating insights into the unknown and more often than not busts myths and misconceptions we have about other countries and cultures. The opportunity to explore sub-cultures that exist within the world today is both fascinating and frightening.
In the episode titled Africa, Farrier makes a stop at the southern point of the continent. While in South Africa he pays a visit to Alexandra and takes a township tour. According to Farrier he was warned about the dangers of visiting the area which was one of the reasons it made it onto his travel list.
In Alex, Farrier meets some of the friendliest and most welcoming people on his entire trip and spends an unforgettable night making new friends. He then visits Orania where he interviews some locals who answer his questions on race like they’ve been handed a guidebook on exactly how to sidestep any controversial statements. However he keeps digging and discovers the Suidlanders – a right-wing survivalist group who anticipates a collapse of infrastructure in South Africa and are prepping for the evacuation from the major cities when an anticipated white genocide begins. They are guided by the prophecy of Siener van Rensburg.
What follows is absolutely bizarre and jaw-droppingly absurd. At one point a deeply confused Farrier finds himself standing between a sea of bakkies, clutching onto a yellow birdcage amongst a bevy of bewildered Suidlanders swinging around paintball guns.
The show is filled with the unthinkable and stuffed to the brim with curiosities that could easily keep you up at night. It delves into darkness head first and scratches the itch of curiosity until it bleeds.