Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Bloodride's Bus Driver Might Be More Important Than You Realize

If you can't get enough of horror anthologies (and if you happen to speak Norwegian, or don't mind subtitles) you're going to want to check out Norway's latest export in that category: Bloodride, a Netflix original that just hit the streamer on Friday, March 13. The series' first season features six tales of the macabre, all centered on flawed "protagonists" who are doomed in one way or another; there is no connection to speak of between any of these characters, or their stories, except for the sinister framing device which leads off each episode and gives the series its title.

This sequence always begins the same way: a driver approaches his empty bus, parked under a streetlight in the dead of night. He boards the vehicle, then glances back; yep, still empty. He then starts the engine, and checks his rearview mirror — and this time, he seems neither surprised nor concerned to see that his bus is now full of passengers.

After the title card, we scan over all of said passengers, in a sequence that plays out just a bit differently each time. The bus driver's gaze in the rearview falls on one of them, and as he signals to pull over, the intro sequence ends, and the main story begins.

So: who is this guy? How did all of these people get on the bus, and where is he taking them? The answer: probably nowhere good. That bus might as well be a boat crossing the river Styx of Greek mythology, because its passengers are probably all dead, and the driver of the bus is Death itself.

Just where is the bus on Bloodride going?

The framing device is brilliant in its simplicity, as it lets us know that despite all of their disparate stories, the poor, unfortunate souls riding on this bus are all going to the same place. But where is that, exactly? And what does the bus itself symbolize?

Well, this is explained by the fact that — minor spoilers here — all of the main characters featured in the anthology's segments meet their ends. If you ask us, this must mean that the bus is a kind of limbo, an in-between realm; the literal vehicle by which these doomed passengers are being transported to the afterlife. One could argue that this makes the driver more of a Ferryman than the actual embodiment of Death, to which we would respond: first, is there really that much of a difference? Second, check out the look on the guy's face as he scans his passengers; he clearly relishes his job, probably because he knows that wherever his charges are going, they deserve to be there.

At any rate, you've probably gathered that we love a good horror anthology, and the only complaint we have about Bloodride is that there isn't enough of it. Sure, everybody's speaking Norwegian, but they're also highly unfamiliar faces to American audiences, which lends the proceedings an eerily true-to-life quality. The stories are tight, the scares are frequent, and the episodes are just short enough to leave you wanting more.

And... that bus driver. He somehow looks like he could be an actual bus driver or Death's avatar on Earth, and if he were in the drivers' seat when we boarded the bus for our morning commute, we'd run screaming all the way back home.