Netflix's new Archie Comics-based series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina might come from the same source material as cheesy '90s comedy show Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but it's far darker, scarier, and more violent. Netflix rates the show for ages 15 and above, and it's definitely not suitable for young children. In addition to a significant amount of blood and gore, scenes of Satanic worship and cannibalism, and horror sequences involving (among other things) a swarm of spiders, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is also pretty grim in tone - with actions often having disastrous consequences that aren't wrapped up neatly with a happy ending.
Viewers with arachnophobia should be aware that there's a sequence in Episode 1 where someone is attacked by a swarm of spiders, and that spiders appear at other points throughout the series. There's a scene in the first episode involving maggots crawling on an apple. There are also several instances of characters vomiting throughout the first season, which may be particularly disturbing for those with emetophobia. There are no on-screen depictions of sexual assault or rape, but we do see one character who is very upset in the aftermath of having their shirt lifted by a group of bullies.
The good news is that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina doesn't really have much in the way of jump scares, though there are a couple of moments in the series that could give you a jolt. We'll go into detail about some of the scariest moments of the series below - though beware that these give away some plot details.
Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
- In Episode 1, "October Country," Sabrina casts a spell that causes a swarm of spiders to attack her school principal. He falls to the floor, which is covered in spiders, and they enter his nose and mouth as he screams. Later in Episode 1, Sabrina is exploring a corn maze when she's attacked by a living scarecrow. That might not sound very scary, but the way the scarecrow moves as it chases Sabrina through the maze is pretty terrifying. Afterwards, she sees a vision of bodies hanging from a tree and the Devil (a hideous goat-headed creature) crawling out from the tree trunk.
- Episode 2, "The Dark Baptism," features a Satanic ritual and a scene in which Sabrina - trying to flee - is attacked by the forest, with branches wrapping around her limbs and dragging her painfully through the mud.
- In Episode 3, "The Trial of Sabrina Spellman," Daniel Webster is tormented by a vision of his dead daughter, who has a cut throat and is soaked in blood.
- In Episode 4, "Witch Academy," Sabrina joins the Academy of Unseen Arts - much to the chagrin of the Weird Sisters. They subject her to a form of hazing called "The Harrowing," which involves forcing her to stand in her nightclothes all night in front of a tree while being tormented by the sounds of her parents being ripped apart. There's no gore on screen, but the sounds are pretty horrifying.
- In Episode 5, "Dreams In A Witch House," all four members of the Spellman family have terrible nightmares. Sabrina dreams about being forced inside an Iron Maiden by Harvey, with the spikes piercing her body. Ambrose dreams that he is performing an autopsy on his own body, and then experiences the autopsy first-hand. In Aunt Zelda's dream, she kills (off-screen) a child to feed to the Dark Lord, and we see the child's roasted head in a tray. This episode also features a swarm of spiders.
- In Episode 6, "An Exorcism in Greendale," Susie's Uncle Jesse is possessed and there are some disturbing and scary scenes involving Sabrina's efforts to exorcise him. This episode also contains a vomiting scene.
- Episode 7, "Feast of Feasts," is easily the most disturbing of the season - though mainly because of its themes. In this episode, Prudence is selected as "Queen of the Feast" - meaning that she will be sacrificed and eaten by the rest of the coven. Prudence herself is delighted to have been chosen, though Sabrina is sickened by the idea. The end of the episode features a particularly gory scene of cannibalism, as the coven tears apart the Queen of the Feast.
- Episode 8, "The Burial," contains a scene in which Sabrina ritually sacrifices another witch by cutting her throat. The throat-cutting is shown in close-up and there's a lot of blood.
- Episode 9, "The Returned Man," contains a spooky scene of Sabrina wandering through limbo. There's also an upsetting moment when a soul is eaten by a monster called the Soul-Eater, leaving only a hand behind.
- Episode 10, "The Witching Hour," features a group of witches who come back from the dead and an "Angel of Death," though these aren't especially scary. Ms. Wardwell seduces one of the school's football players, and graphically cuts his throat as part of a ritual sacrifice. There is also a scene involving a crow having its neck snapped, which could be upsetting for animal lovers.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1 is available now on Netflix.