Copy origin: Netflix Canada
More information: IMDB | Wikipedia
Hemlock Grove is Netflix’s latest streaming original series presentation, a supernatural horror drama mystery hybrid set in a small fictional town in Pennsylvania that looks exactly like a small town in Canada (they did nothing to hide or camouflage the street signs to look American, and my boyfriend pointed out the Fudgee-Os on the shelves of the convenience store). The show focuses on a vagrant Romani boy named Peter Romancek who happens to be a werewolf, and a rich pretty-boy named Roman Godfrey who doesn’t yet know he’s Upir, a vampire in Russian folklore who doesn’t fear the sun.
So yeah, it’s a lot like Twilight, but the werewolf is Romani instead of Native American and instead of Bella we have plot. Some semblance of plot, anyway.
The show is intended to circle around a series of brutal murders at the hands of some mysterious “demon-beast,” which Peter and Roman decide to investigate in order to clear Peter’s name. You know, because he’s so furry he’s obviously a werewolf, and therefore must be behind the murders since they started just as he arrived in town. Okay, so that second one makes more sense.
As someone who has watched and enjoyed more than her fair share of horror films, I did enjoy Hemlock Grove, but you have to realize that one of my most recent horror loves was Trailer Park of Terror. I have a very high pain tolerance for bad horror. A lot of people would not make it through Hemlock Grove alive because it is terrible. Full stop.
In fact, if you are all offended by rape forgotten through mind control tricks, overuse of the C-word by fourteen-year-olds, gratuitous amounts of sex and drugs “just because that’s the HBO-esque thing to do,” and an unabashed hatred of pretty women with sexual desires, do not watch Hemlock Grove. It is a painful show. I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
Aside from the racism, sexism, vulgarity, rape, and everything else that makes it a bloody awful show, it’s clumsily put together. The writing is bloody awful. “I can’t wait to marry your ass.” “You’ll have to engage it first.” What? What?! Not to mention, Famke Janssen’s terrible attempt at a British accent. It’s like watching Jean Grey trying to be Emma Frost. Pretty much literally, since she also spends the entire show wearing nothing but white. Subplots are created — Roman’s obsession with his cousin, Letha — and then dropped when it becomes convenient. It’s a mess of a show, and the last half of the season is atrocious.
It could have been good. They tried to be too hip, too edgy. They tried to be unsettling, but copped out at every chance for a decent scary moment.
I suppose I should have expected this from the director of Hostel. Sigh.