Hemlock Grove | TV Series Review

Hemlock Grove (Season 1)   TV-MA
Released: April 19, 2013
Director: Eli Roth
Creators: Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror, Thriller
Starring: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron
Based on: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
A teenage girl is brutally murdered, sparking a hunt for her killer. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them?
(Synopsis link)

I typed up a quick review for this show on Netflix, and then realized I had much more to say. And when I saw that it's based on a book, I just knew I would be posting a review on this blog, as my thoughts are as complex as the show.

I watched the first episode and wasn't impressed. Despite me immediately liking the character of Peter Rumaneck (played by Landon Liboiron) and his mother (Lili Taylor), I found the camera work to be spotty, and the show much too dramatized. I wouldn't have kept going if it weren't for Netflix's nifty feature that plays the next episode if you leave it alone for long enough. I figured I would give the next episode a try, since it had begun anyway.

And that's when I started getting hooked. I won't pretend I don't have a fascination with dark and moody settings, and Hemlock Grove is like the ultimate setting for this. The town people are eerie and secretive, with enough sordid history to make the series feel like something straight out of a Gothic horror novel.

Peter Rumaneck and Roman Godfrey (played by Bill Skarsgård--none other than the brother of Alexander Skarsgård, himself!) make a fantastic pair of friends. Their characters are such contrasts, but it's like magic when they're both on screen together. Their uneasy friendship is the true gem of the series, although there are many other relationships to watch unfold. I do admit that I never ended up liking Famke Janssen's portrayal of Roman's mother. There was something about the way she delivered her lines that got on my nerves--which is a surprise, since I've always liked her in the other roles I've seen her play.

And if you haven't heard much about the werewolf transformations, let me assure you--they're eye-openers! Hemlock Grove takes werewolf transformations to the next level. I was shocked and fascinated as I watched the first time, and it took me a few moments afterward to digest what I had just seen. Horror fans will go crazy about this particular aspect.

The camera work overall isn't the best I've seen, but I did stop noticing it sometime after the second episode. The acting isn't always the best either (no complaints as far as Peter and Roman--they are fantastic). But there's something about Hemlock Grove that appealed to me, and I ended up enjoying it. It's very different and a little strange. It deals mostly in deep, dark emotions, but can be very humorous. I couldn't even begin to make a comparison to another TV show, but it's definitely a show for a very specific audience. It's not for everyone (take the TV-MA rating seriously).

If you're not sure whether you would like it or not, I suggest giving it two episodes. You'll know by the end of the second episode if it's for you. On the other hand, if you like your mysteries slightly twisted and have a thing for werewolves, this is the show for you!

Watch this if:
...you like to wander in the supernatural world, and you don't have a weak stomach.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Over the entire series, you can expect to see violence, murder, many gruesome scenes, rape, sex, nudity, and infidelity. As far as mature content, think along the lines of Game of Thrones.}

See Hemlock Grove on:
Goodreads  |  IMDB

1 comment:

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