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“Before Bas became part of Die Spreeus investigative unit, he lived in his own protected world as a security officer at a shopping centre,” explains Chris Vorster, who plays one half of the detective duo in supernatural series Die Spreeus (new episodes land every Monday evening on Showmax).

Some would say that Bas is busy unravelling after revealing in episode 6 that he’s living with the ghost of his dead son Dewald (Anderson White). But Chris disagrees. “I think that for the first time, Bas is dealing with his demons and the trauma in his life. And when anyone does that, it doesn’t go smoothly. Things tend to get messy, overwhelming even.”

And that’s what happens in episode 9 when Bas and his colleague detective Beatrice (Monique Rockman) are called to investigate the grisly murder of a family’s dog.

Shoot to kill

What’s so strange about a dog’s death that supernatural experts are needed? It turns out that the family pet was torn in two by a werewolf-like beast – think of a werewolf but with an African twist. And even the scariest, nastiest werewolf pales in comparison to its African cousin!

Refined Marthinus (Andre Roothman) loves calm and structure in his life – something that his neighbours simply do not understand. He confronts them one night when the neighbours’ teenage son Malan (Andahr Cotton) is home alone with his girlfriend Marianne (Marguerite van Eden) playing music too loud. Right there in the dark, Marthinus transforms into this werebeast and attacks Malan’s dog.

You won’t believe the actual transformation onscreen, so don’t miss this episode!

The actual focus of this instalment is that Bas is forced to use his gun to protect himself and Beatrice, something he’s struggled to do for years. In fact, he shoots the werebeast 18 times to make sure that it’s dead.

This is a breakthrough, explains Chris.

“Bas was scared to shoot his gun because four years earlier he shot the gangster who held Dewald at knifepoint, but the boy died when the gangster was wounded, not shot dead. Eighteen shots is excessive, but it’s helped Bas overcome that monster in his life. From now on, he won’t be afraid to draw his gun and fire.”

Moral dilemma

There’s a problem for Bas though, because the werebeast transforms back into a now-dead Marthinus. In a moment of desperation, Bas grabs Beatrice’s rifle and puts it in Marthinus’s hand to make it appear that he shot Marthinus as self-defence.

“Beatrice is stunned by this. She knows Bas to be a moral man with strong values, but who she sees in front of him is a different man. She doesn’t know if she likes this side of Bas,” says Chris.

Bas fears that he’s losing Beatrice, adds the actor. “They were really close, not just as colleagues but on a friendly level too. Chris’s behaviour is reckless and it could mean the beginning of the end to Die Spreeus unit. If that happens, Bas won’t be able to overcome the other demons in his life. He won’t have peace anymore.”

Behind the monster screen

Die Spreeus was filmed in the Western Cape between December 2018 and February 2019, with episode 9 being filmed in the Cape Town suburb of Constantia. And it gave Chris and the crew a great supply of behind-the-scenes stories to share.

“We filmed in the evenings a lot and some of the residents came to speak to us about the noise we were making. So we filmed the scenes whispering our lines, but actually having the facial expressions and body language we’d have if we’d filmed it normally. We kept our raw emotion and it came out nicely.”

Monique has less favourable memories though, reveals Chris: she almost knocked herself out.

“She ran full-steam into a pole one night and was left with a giant bump on her head. It was for episode 9. If you watch carefully when Bas and Beatrice sit opposite each other in Malan’s backyard drinking coffee, the cameras only show one side of Beatrice’s face, leaving the bump hidden in the shadows.”

Fact vs fiction

Do were-hyenas really exist?

As with werewolves, the stories about were-hyenas have been around for years in East Africa, reveals Spreeus creator Tertius Kapp. In Tanzania and Ethiopia, they’re called “bouda” in local folklore.

Catch Die Spreeus on Showmax, with all previous episodes and new instalments every week.

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