Netflix original, streaming
First it was cable television that gave network TV a run for its money. Now it’s streaming TV online. Netflix and Amazon Prime have both jumped on this band wagon presenting new material and returning fan favorites. The creepiest so far? Hemlock Grove whose first season is streaming on Netflix.
Hemlock Grove is based on the novel by Brian McGreevy. A pair of gypsies move into town and the teen boy is pegged by the local aspiring writer to be a werewolf. But when grisly murders start happening around town, some of the town’s folk give credit to the girl’s theory. Local girls are torn apart by what looks like animals. But it seems that the upiόr that the Gypsies are chasing may be the cause. The town sheriff as well as representative from the US fish and Wildlife Federation is investigating as well. Many strange things are found in the Pennsylvania little grove including a girl impregnated by an angel.
The show is The Gates combined with American Horror Story with a dash of The Walking Dead thrown. The story combines a supernatural town with the bizarre twists that keep the viewer confused, terrified, and wanting more. Each town member has a secret and not one person is the town is truly normal. McGreevy sinks into years of folklore putting the fear back into werewolves, vampires, and angels.
Any reviews you read about the show focuses on how gory the show is. In reality it’s not insanely gory. What is disgusting is the events and how realistic they look. It’s not The Walking Dead gory with blood and guts everywhere. Greg Nicottero’s FX company uses a more subtle hand here. For example, it’s not gross how the werewolf sheds its skin; it is disturbing when the werewolf at its left over human parts. Only one body looks like a zombie, and even then, Bicycle Girl was scarier. But maybe I’ve just watched too much horror and sci-fi to be bothered by the gore.
The story itself is psychologically disturbing. The show uses a giant with a deformed face as an allegory for being a teenager as well and a mysterious medical company that brings her back to life. The story sometimes over reaches and the finale is like the worst episodes of The X-files; you have more questions than answers. But more than anything it the characters and the actors that portray them that keep viewer hooked. Viewers will recognize Femke Jemson and Dougray Scoot as the adult stars. Battlestar Galatica Fans will be thrilled by the appearance of Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas. But it is the two teen boys Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgård that give the best performances as they deal with their dual nature. Their unique bromance captures your attention as they both try to help a girl they love (a love triangle Twilight would never touch!).
The first season follows the original novel and McGreevy is writing second while he had outlines for a third. As an Executive Producer, the show captures his warped version of a town from his childhood and this works for Netflix. Forget who shot JR; I want to know what that thing is inside the box!
- Eli Roth’s ‘Hemlock Grove’ Devoured By Fans As The First Season Hits Netflix (contactmusic.com)
- WonderCon 2013: HEMLOCK GROVE Panel Recap Featuring Eli Roth and Famke Janssen (collider.com)
- Explore Hemlock Grove with this Interactive Map (dreadcentral.com)
- ‘Hemlock Grove’ Clip Rocks A Grisly & Thorough Werewolf Transformation (screenrant.com)
- Start Now, and You’ll Know Tonight (tv.nytimes.com)