Aug 19, 2013

Hemlock Grove: A Netflix Original Series

Hemlock Grove is a Netflix original series about murder, werewolves, gypsies, rich people who have mind control powers, weird genetic experiments and high school. Well, I guess it's not really about high school, but the bulk of the main characters are in high school. Also, angels impregnating teenage girls.

Sounds...confusing? Yeah.

Here's the synopsis from Netflix: The mangled body of a teenage girl is discovered outside a rusted Pennsylvania steel town, where every resident harbors a dark secret. Suspicions and accusations mount as a manhunt for the killer intensifies, even as evidence mounts that the suspect is not a man at all. Famke Janssen and Dougray Scott star in this terrifying series from horror director Eli Roth ("Hostel") and novelist Brian McGreevy, nominated for two 2013 Emmy Awards.

After binge watching Orange is the New Black (loved it, by the way), Netflix was all, Hey, you liked that? Maybe you'll like this other original series we have: Hemlock Grove. And I was like, Netflix, that show looks kind of terrible, but I'll give it a try if you say so. I'm pretty trusting when computer algorithms tell me what to do, I guess. 

Oh god, this show. It's just...so...yeah. I want to say it's awful. I really do. But I loved it. I really, really did. And when season 2 comes out, I'll be watching. Probably non-stop until all of the episodes are gone, just as I did this season. I watched two or three episodes a night, every night for a week-ish. I guess the fact that I loved it doesn't mean it wasn't also awful. Awful, but also captivating and awesome.

...this is exactly why I should not review things. 

There is a lot going on in the show. There is a werewolf that is killing people and the police are more or less clueless (or possibly in denial). A werewolf that is definitely not main character Peter (seriously, did his name have to be Peter?), even though he's also a werewolf and the killing started right after he and his mom moved into his dead uncle's rundown trailer for some reason. I guess because they're gypsies and that's what gypsies do? I don't really know anything about gypsies. There are also a few appearances of Peter's cousin who is a psychic, a prostitute and does magic. Gypsies are magic, I guess.

Peter teams up with new friend Roman to hunt this other werewolf. Roman is a rich kid with no real friends, so it only makes sense that he befriended Peter - a poor gypsy with no friends. Roman is from a very influential and hated family, and has an unhealthy obsession with his cousin. A quote from this spoiler filled link: "you can't tell who Roman loves more: his friend Peter or his cousin Letha." So epicly true. There are also some gifs that illustrate this point perfectly. There is crazy sexual tension between Peter and Roman. Roman is a vampire (or, sorry, Upir - Russian Vampire) but doesn't know it. Peter and his family know, though, because gypsies are magic. This vampirism give Roman mind control powers. More on his family: His sister died when she was a baby, but was somehow brought back to life, now horribly deformed, with skin that glows when touched and when she's upset the lights flicker. His mother, who is kind of a drug addict and an all around asshole, is sleeping with his uncle.  His cousin thinks she was impregnated by an angel. Yeah.

Also hunting the wolf are the police (who think it's a regular wolf), and they've teamed up with (fake?) Fish and Wildlife agent - Dr. Clementine Chasseur. Who actually is a monster hunter for the church. Main police guy - Sheriff Tom - seems to know they're after a werewolf, but doesn't want to admit it. He has twin daughters who's best friend goes crazy after finding one of the corpses.

There is also some kind of super secret...something...going on at Godfrey Institute - Roman's family's company which I guess is some kind of medical research biotech lab? None of this is really explained.

I think that's everything, but I'm sure I'm missing something.

So you've got this plot, which RedEye's review accurately described as "a rambling, nonsensical mess". Even with all of that going on, it often seems like nothing is happening. It is not a fast paced show. On top of that, a lot of the writing is really bad. Some of the acting is really bad. And sometimes both the acting and writing are so bad you can't tell which is worse. All of which is why I want to say that it's awful. But I still can't bring myself to say that. Because I loved it too much.

I guess the big question is, should you watch? That's the whole point of reviews, right? And the answer is...I don't know. There are certainly worse things to watch on television. No. I'm going to take a stand and say yes: check it out. Enjoy it's convoluted terribleness, and love it for what it is: Entertainingly awful.

Note: the following trailer is rated for mature audiences only.

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