By Joseph Pardo
Netflix brings an exhilarating reinvention of the gothic genre, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares, to life in the Netflix Original Series, Hemlock Grove.
Based on the novel by Brian McGreevy, Hemlock Grove begins with the body of a young girl found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt begins—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for. Soon, two teenagers, Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgard) and Peter Rumancek(Landon Liboiron) find themselves investigating the murder, and discovering more of the town’s secrets along the way…starting with them. Peter is a werewolf you see, while Roman…Well, we aren’t quite sure what Roman is, but he has some very interesting skills.
Series developers Lee Shipman, along with Executive Producer Eli Roth, have enough confidence in us, the viewers, to let us do some of the work with our imaginations,. The series is the next step in the evolution of campy supernatural soap operas; from Dark Shadows to the more recent American Horror Story. Hemlock Grove amps up the campy for sure, but also the mystery factor. Who, or what, is ripping apart the teenage girls in this small Pennsylvania town?
Hemlock Grove takes its time with each story lines, ensuring that each one has plenty of room to ripen. It provides every unsettling scene with gusto, but still offers enough moments of amusement. Not once during the 13 hours was I bored by the characters, or their stories, though it occasionally felt like Hemlock held back.
When all the blood is mopped up, Hemlock Grove, like so many horror flicks before it, is about the monster inside all of us, and the human bonds that prevent us from becoming our beastliest selves.
Hemlock Grove is a fantastic addition to Netflix’s stable of shows. Each episode is well written, with characters that are fully fleshed out. You care about what happens to the main characters and want to root for them. The witty dialog adds levity during some dark moments in the show and adds to the storyline and the dynamics between the characters. So few Networks create material for their horror fans and Netflix succeed on it’s first try. With supposed plans of two more seasons, lets hope this one is a hit.