So Netflix has been doing this really cool thing this year. They’ve started picking up on fans’ habits of watching a season of a television show in a day, and they’ve started creating their own shows. It all started with House of Cards, and it moved on to the Eli Roth-produced horror show Hemlock Grove.
Hemlock Grove is actually an adaptation of a book by the same name, written by Brian McGreevy, who also produced the show. The story is about a small town in Pennsylvania that’s much darker than it appears on the surface. Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) and his mother Lynda move into Hemlock Grove shortly before the brutal murder of a girl from the local high school. And it’s not just a normal murder. It’s more of a viciously-ripped-apart-and-barely-eaten kind of murder. The kind only an animal could do. Which is really convenient, considering there’s a lovely rumor going around that Peter is a werewolf.
Spoiler alert: he totally is. (That’s not really a spoiler, he changes at the end of the first episode. And holy crap, if anything, watch just for the transformation scene.) He changes every full moon. It’s a hereditary condition. Because he’s a Gypsy. Yes, Gypsies are still a thing now. And that’s actually really important to the show. The story follows the old superstitions about all the supernatual beings, like werewolves and, dare I say it, vampires. And it’s quite refreshing to watch a show that follows Eastern European folklore.
A lot of critics of the show say that the dialogue is forced and choppy, but those critics have obviously never been around teenagers. I think McGreevy did an excellent job with the dialogue in the novel, and the writers carried that over to the show. It’s quirky, yes, but how can it not be?
The performances in the show are excellent as well. Bill Skarsgard is brilliant as Roman Godfrey, a seemingly apathetic teenager with a love of cocaine and sex. His mother, Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), is a controlling woman, but will do anything to keep her son safe.
While the show isn’t exactly like the novel, the changes that were made were wise ones. It gives a lot more context as to why Roman and Peter are drawn to each other (in a possibly romantic way, but we’ll leave that up to season two), and why Doctor Clementine Chasseur (Kandyse McClure) is so passionate about finding the wolf that keeps slaughtering girls throughout the town.
Despite critics’ disappointment, I think that Hemlock Grove is a creepy breath of fresh air in the supernatural realm. I give it 9 out of 10 upirs.