Is This a Viral Ad for Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain?

Jason McDonald

If you were watching “The Walking Dead” last night, you might’ve noticed a really weird commercial that didn’t seem to be advertising anything.  In fact, it looked like home footage pieced together with a cryptic message.  I smell a viral campaign!

In the video, which you can watch a grainy version of below, we’re shown a woman drinking wine outside of a restaurant.  Suddenly the camera pans over and we see rats flooding out of the sewer. Then it cuts to black and the words “he is here” are quickly displayed before the footage jumps to another scene of rats invading a public place.

At first, you might think is this a Willard remake? Or a crazy ad for an extermination service? I was pretty perplexed until I came across this post on Godlike Productions which seems to have figured it out.  The elements of the commercial seem to relate to an upcoming TV series from Guillermo Del Toro based on his book “The Strain”.

Apparently, in the book, there’s an incident of rats swarming out of the sewers to escape the vampires that have infested the tunnels under New York City.  The vampires also like to use “he is here” as a moto or chant for their leader.  All roads seem to lead to this being our first taste of Del Toro’s upcoming TV series for FX.

The Strain tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Stoll), the head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.

The series will star Corey Stoll, Kevin Durand, Mia Maestro, Richard Sammel, Lauren Lee Smith, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Miguel Gomez, and John Hurt.  If a better version of the commercial pops up online, I’ll be sure to edit it in.

EDIT: Added a higher quality video.


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      1. Jennifer Singer Pence December 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

        i was wondering about that!

      2. The Strain (@TheStrain_TV) December 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        Better quality video now online… http://youtu.be/svTAVsX3X_c

        • Jason McDonald December 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

          Thanks for the heads up!

      3. Dean Waterman December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        Sash Fucking hope so!! The book (well entire trilogy) was brilliant!

      4. Ricky Haas December 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

        John Scarpulla

      5. Tony Lee December 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm

        I saw it!! Thought that was weird. Thx for beginning it to light!!

      6. deyawper December 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Not the first time that they’ve used a weird approach to marketing “The Strain” See: Departmentofhumanmanagement.org

      7. Sam Hain December 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        Oops, didn’t mean to repost that. However, I did add a higher quality video to the article, so it was worth revisiting if you haven’t seen it yet.

      8. Michael Lusher December 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        Why are they advertising for an FX show on AMC?

      9. bsweet0us December 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        I know I’m a little late to the party, but I finally got to watch the mid-season finale and knew this spot was there. During the cut between the two scenes (when the screen goes black for a couple seconds) the words “He is here” flash by so quickly you have to advance frame-by-frame to see them. Just thought I’d throw that out there…