Alan Smithee

Hemlock Grove – Review

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Have you ever known a time where you hear about a new series and are hesitant to watch it for some unknown reason? Yeah that’s my problem too but eventually I end up kicking myself in the ass down the road because I was missing out. In all honesty, if it weren’t for the dead-time between the weeks of xmas and the following new year’s week where there is absolutely nothing NEW being released by the networks…I might have delayed this even longer. 

Hemlock Grove Titlecard

If you find yourself in the camp of holding off on this show, please stop doing so and proceed to your Netflix account and start watching, now. This show is good, damn good. Take that with a grain of salt because I may be one of the few people on the planet that will state that as a ‘critic’ as this show has received fair to low scores critically. The people who judged this series poorly are probably the same folk who say that Army of Darkness isn’t a good horror movie, or Bubba Ho-Tep a sequel to JFK.

I don’t want to give anything away except for the usual synopsis regarding an unlikely friendship between the Rumanceks (a Romani family) and the Godfreys (a terribly rich and hated family) in a town that is slowly drying up after the closure of the steel mill. The boys slowly become best of friends during their Hardy Boys-esque romp into trying to discover the real killer behind a rash of murders targeting the town of Hemlock Grove’s nubile teenage jailbait.

The show is equal parts Twin Peaks, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Columbo, and Northern Exposure. It’s hard to pin this show down to one layer as there are moments of horror, intrigue, humor, brutality, and lots and I mean lots of sex. Watching this solo doesn’t yield any Al Bundy hands down pants moments but there is enough simulated acts to make you just a little uncomfortable watching this with anyone you respect…meaning DON’T WATCH THIS WITH MOM AND DAD.

Ever since Lost let me down, I’ve always been hesitant to join in on a show where there are more questions raised than answered, but this show does it right. Instead of piling on tons of items that never get resolved, it slowly gives you just enough crazy to have you lose your mind with guesses and speculation but ultimately gives you enough answers that you’re not left scratching your head asking “is that all?”

Out of the entire 13 episode arc, there were maybe one or two episodes that could have been left out because they felt mostly like filler material but considering Netflix releases the entire season, there’s not really any need for that.

The show was written along with the man who penned the novel, Brian McGreevy, so there is great continuity if you’ve read the book. The areas that this series shines its brightest would have to be with the ensemble cast of mostly unknowns like Bill Skarsgård (Roman Godfrey) and Landon Liboiron (Peter Rumancek), along with television veterans Kandyse McClure (Dr. Chasseur) and Aaron Douglas (Tom Sworn), and even movie stars like Famke Janssen (Olivia Godfrey) who you might remember as Jean Grey from the X-Men movies.

I really can’t talk too much about the ins-and-outs of the show suffice to say that I say one thing and it’ll be too much, it’s a sordid mess of paranormal folklore, teen angst, and messy infidelity. Sure there are times it gets a bit slow in the middle, and there are scenes where you scoff at ‘teens’ being able to leave school the way these kids do (I use air quotes with teens because it’s obvious these folks are NOT teenagers). If you stick it out all the way to the final episode you’re left with one of the best setups for the next season that I’ve ever seen and with a giant Kubrick styled WTF last moment that will have you searching for when season two will be airing.

Have you watched Hemlock Grove? Sound off in the comments below!

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