Trending
MOST READ
4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

City Guide 2014: In the last few years, San Antonio has made great strides when it comes to its mixology doings. Many good (and some great!) cocktail bars have been springing... By Tim Hennessey 2/24/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

SA’s Shadiest (in a good way) Parks

City Guide 2014: For anyone in charge of a child or two, knowing where to find the nearest playground is information as essential as the numbers for poison control and your pediatrician... By Joy-Marie Scott 2/24/2014
Best Guacamole

Best Guacamole

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens

Netflix goes horror with 'Hemlock Grove'

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


A teenage girl runs through the woods, crying out in fear. She is chased by a darkened, ominous figure. Upon reaching an open playground, she takes solace in a small toy house. Unable to contain her cries, she is found and pulled from the structure, her lower body violently torn apart. The small town of Hemlock Grove will never be the same.

Following on the heels of the commercially successful series House of Cards, Hemlock Grove is the poor soul chosen to bide Netflix subscribers’ time until the new episodes of Arrested Development hit its streaming service. Based on the novel by author Brian McGreevy, and helmed by horror master Eli Roth, Hemlock Grove is the second of seven original content shows to debut by the streaming giant.

McGreevy’s outspoken disgust for modern vampire and werewolf pop culture is encapsulated in his essay on Vulture entitled “Why Don Draper Is A Far Better Vampire Than Any Of Twilight’s or True Blood’s.” McGreevy famously alludes to these genre stalwarts of today as “essentially what you would get if a Tennessee Williams play fucked The Rocky Horror Show Picture Show.”

Hemlock Grove is the writer’s attempt to pump the blood, fear, and violence back into the genre, while reinstating its Romantic literary tradition. McGreevy’s intentions are noble, but the series falls short in nearly every attempted ploy laid out. The root of this futility might best be traced to the fact that the series tries to do far too many things at once.

Let’s run the list: gypsies, aristocratic life, mythology, religion, drugs, high school vulnerability, secret societies, the occult, sex, science, money, and power are among the many explored themes. With a more narrowed vision, a select few of these could be carried out with gusto. However, viewers are dealt a bum hand that they’ll fold before bets are on the table.

What the series suffers from most is its characters, in both casting and writing. Where McGreevy denounced the emasculated vampires of today, the character Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård) may be ripped from the pages of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, but aside from the lines of coke, he is as shallow and overdramatic as Edward Cullen.

Perhaps it was the brilliant performances of Edward James Olmos laced throughout, but I can’t remember feeling Kandyse McClure’s acting being this troubling to watch on Battlestar Galactica. Her fellow Battlestar castmate Aaron Douglas makes the best of his otherwise static character in local sheriff Tom Sworn.

Famke Janssen’s character Olivia Godfrey is haunting and methodic, a testament to classical stereotypes. She may feel displaced among the rest of the cast, but her performance stands as most notable.

Hemlock Grove does deliver in one area — the gooey red stuff. Box cutters to the torso of a dead girl? It’s got that. Sacrificing a pet cat? That’s fair game. Nude and mutilated girls’ bodies? Roth delivers there too. There’s no shortage of intestines spewing from abdomens. Though clearly allocated to specific scenes, the budget provides some top-notch transformation sequences as well.

With only slight critical reception, it is surprising that Netflix officially announced more viewers watched the series on its opening day than the much-lauded House of Cards. Hemlock Grove is among a welcomed range of original content for Netflix, but it will be interesting to see if the series, like House of Cards, is picked up for a second run.

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus