Doing Werewolves Right: Netflix’s Hemlock Grove

Doing Werewolves Right: Netflix’s Hemlock Grove

 By: Meg Humphrey

Curse you Netflix and your original series! Of course I’m excited for Arrested Development to come back, but I didn’t bat an eyelash when the exclusive series House of Cards popped up. While browsing for something to throw on in the background while sewing one early Saturday morning, I stumbled upon something called “Hemlock Grove.” From the cover photo and title it’s pretty obvious it’s a horror-drama revolving around everyone’s favorite monthly visitor – the werewolf. I sat through the entirety of American Horror Story: Murder House so I figured I had better give this show a shot.

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It only gets cooler/grosser from here.

During the opening credits I learned that Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel Part I and II) is the director. Well. That kind of sealed the deal. Even if the first episode seems kinda lame, I’m going to watch all of it because Eli Roth. Well, I devoured the series in about 10 days. Ten days in which I wasn’t supposed to be watching any horror/spooky/murder shows.

I don’t want to give any spoilers so here’s a quick pro and con list of the show.

Pros:

  • Most badass werewolf transformation I’ve ever seen.

  • The characters are well suited to their roles. Especially the creepy ones.

  • The whole show is BEAUTIFUL to watch. The locations and clothes are striking. I pretty much want all of Olivia’s stark white outfits.

  • It’s more thriller than horror and there are multiple mysteries to solve throughout the show. It never gets boring.

  • I had no idea who the killer was until the third to last episode (when you’re supposed to know). Bravo.

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That. Dress.

Cons:

  • When you think everything is wrapped up, the last episode leaves you shouting “WHAT?” at the screen.

  • It’s obvious they’re gunning for a second season, but some of the side mysteries are so ignored through the last half of the season that if they don’t make another season I’m going to be SO MAD. I want answers!!

  • Some parts of the show are just really stupid. Because it’s about werewolves. And vampires. Of course it’s going to be kind of bad sometimes.

  • I could do without the sex scenes. The story could do without the sex scenes.

  • Roman’s catabasis didn’t seem necessary. I’m not quite sure what he was supposed to get from it besides “stop being a jerk.”

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To sum up, I would love to watch a second season. The show is intriguing and fun to watch despite the moments of cliché and general WTFness. I keep in mind though, that this is NOT “quality” programming. It’s one of those “so bad it’s good” shows (which is why, I assume, True Blood has had so many seasons). It’s not sophisticated, thoughtful, or politically correct. It’s truly a horror-thriller strung out to 13 episodes. There’s blood, sex, vulgarities, and other things I don’t discuss in public (it’s Netflix, so as long as it’s not straight up porn, it passes). It caters fairly specifically to the horror crowd. If that’s not your boat, then don’t watch it. But if you like American Horror Story or any genre horror movie that’s come out in the last 12 years, I suggest giving Hemlock Grove a shot.

PS. It’s based on a book by Brian McGreevy (if you’d rather read it then watch it). It is now on my to-read list.

meg@haveyounerd.com 

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