While I was getting my hair colored a couple weeks ago, I happened upon an article in People magazine about a new Netflix-only series called Hemlock Grove. It didn’t take reading beyond “werewolf” “supernatural” and “horror” to have me writing the title down and then checking it out during my non-working time. The review in People also stated that the show is a little slow to get into the mystery, and when I started to watch it, I agreed. The background shots can also occasionally be fake-looking, but after episode two, I was getting hooked despite the flaws.
The official premise is this: “In the shadows of a rusted Pennsylvania steel town, the mangled body of a teenage girl is discovered. As they hunt for a monster among them, rumors mount and many of the eccentric residents become suspects, from the newly arrived gypsy family to the wealthy Godfrey clan. In the twisted world of Hemlock Grove, everyone hides a dark secret. From director Eli Roth comes a chilling supernatural series based on Brian McGreevy’s novel.”
More than werewolves lurk in Hemlock Grove. There are also “upirs” which we would call vampires and there’s an element of magic, too. None of this is unusual for a supernatural series, but where Hemlock Grove differs from other shows is that it’s truly a horror series. Between the explicit violence and equally explicit sex, it’s also very adult content even though most of the main characters are in high school. And despite it’s sometimes campy cinematography and slow start, the characters are what grabbed me. It’s easy to cheer for characters who are trying to do the right thing under horrible circumstances, but when I can be revolted by a character’s actions and yet still want that character to find redemption, the show’s worth watching for me. I really hope Netflix picks up Hemlock Grove for a second season.
So, if you’re looking for something that David Hiltbrand of the Philadelphia Inquirer called “lush, gross, frightening, and ridiculous–all at the same time” and you have Netflix, then I recommend Hemlock Grove.
Main cast: Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Freya Tingley, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Bill Skarsgard (yes, True Blood fans, he’s Alexander Skarsgard’s younger brother) and Lily Taylor.