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3.8 out of 5 stars
Hemlock Grove - The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2014
Hemlock Grove has a lot of potential, story wise it is written well and they do keep you wanting to know more about each character and their heritage as well as who is the killer involved in the main story arc could be. For me I would of preferred the adults being the main focus rather than the dour teens. The show is certainly gory enough for lovers of horror and the series itself is well written but everything just seems to take too long to happen, playing more like a teen soap with the supernatural horror element playing second fiddle; it was just too much like The OC with wee beasties. I liked its potential and I hear that the second series is far superior so I will continue to give it a chance but it is found somewhat lacking at the moment for me as a cult series. Famke Janssen does steal most of the scenes she is in and I really do feel the adult element would of provided a much more competitive series for the supernatural genre.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
'Hemlock Grove' is an excellent addition to the 'Netflick Original' series of programmes. I hadn't seen, or even heard of the show until I bought the DVD on the off chance when it caught my eye. I thought that it looked interesting, and that it is.

Unlike a lot of shows on the television at the moment, this is something different, and very creative. The production values are actually quite good, and the setting manages to create a genuinely Gothic, almost dreamlike atmosphere, combining bloody violence and gore. When a young girl is brutally murdered, her dead body found in a playground in a horrible state, we are able to follow the whole investigation in the small town outside Philadelphia. Suspicion immediately falls on the new boy in town, gypsy Peter Rumancek (played by Landon Liboiron), who is also a werewolf.

The town is home to many other interesting characters, few of which appear to be ordinary, and most seem to be hiding something. We get the know more about the characters gradually after each episode, and it seems almost impossible not to like at least a handful of them. My personal favourite is the wealthy and controlling Roman Godfrey, played by Bill Skarsgård, who I believe is one to look out for in the future. The bromance between Roman and Peter is quite endearing, neither have had a real friend, but now they confine in each other, smoke together, and they join forces to discover the identity of the girl's killer, which will probably come as a surprise to the viewer, or at least it did to me.

Every actor seems to fit their role perfectly, and if you can look beyond the sometimes occasional 'overacting' from a few players, I think you'll agree that it is excellent casting. Unlike a lot of patronising 'teen-horrors' (and you probably know who they are) with characters that appear to be interesting at first but turn out to be one dimensional, the stars of 'Hemlock Grove' are anything but. Just as nice is to see a production relying on it's characters, and the intriguing plot to create the the entertainment, instead of having lots of appearances from werewolves and vampires. Some of the stars do have these powers (wait until you see the excellent, and nicely done werewolf transformation of Peter), but they are essential to the story.

This is a show which requires your full attention at all times, and I confess that I had to re watch some bits several times over to fully understand what was taking place. Although this could be confusing and sometimes annoying, there are lots of questions which are still not answered by the end of the final episode, so things are thankfully left open for a second helping.

In short, a very enjoyable series, and I look forward to seeing more (Season 2 is to premier in July). 'Hemlock Grove' has horror, violence, suspense, and plenty of humour which more that justifies the thirteen episode run of season one.

Note: There are no subtitles (at least not on the DVD edition, so I assume that to the be the same case as the Blu-ray). There are however lots of bonus features, including a 38 minute 'Making Of', a 'Behind the Screams' featurette lasting 105 minutes, and more.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Oh dear, yet another high-school vampire / werewolf genre series, you might think. On the surface you’d be right but this show’s weirdness takes it way off the well trodden genre trail pioneered by the still unrivalled Buffy.

Set in the fictional Pennsylvania (again – a lot seems to happen there at the moment) town of Hemlock Grove though actually filmed in Canada, this season follows the hunt for the beastly perpetrator of a series of grisly murders which start, coincidentally, with the arrival of a gipsy boy and his mother. Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of strange goins-on, centred mostly around Peter, the aforementioned gypsy and Roman, the spoilt rich-kid son of the most peculiar Olivia Godfrey.

Much death, mayhem and general oddness ensues while they track down the mythical beast, mostly driving about in Roman’s lovely red car (a 1961 Jaguar XK150 as it turns out). Confounding their efforts along the way is the slightly bonkers Van Helsing-like Dr. Chasseur as she conducts her own werewolf hunt under the auspices of a shady secret religious order not entirely unlike the Iluminati.

While the main plot lines progress we learn more of Roman’s Upir (a mythological Russian part witch, part daemon with some very unpleasant habits) heritage, his Lurch’esque utterly likeable sister, Olivia’s beginnings and hints of the dubious moral nature of the work of the Godfrey institute headed by the odd (everybody in Hemlock Grove is odd…) Dr. Johann Pryce.

It is a peculiar, improbably successful, blend of almost every element from the genre, standard fantasy themes, some Grimm-like mythology and bits of sci-fi held together by sharp writing and solid performances from the main cast. Apart from one thoroughly surreal episode (although at least I now know what catabasis is) the season piles along at a very acceptable pace with never a dull moment. Season two premiered on US television in July 2014 so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next installment of the splendidly odd, strangely engrossing show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Curiously named Hemlock Grove has distinctive features, ranging from the large derelict former steel works to the towering medical centre (where all is not as it seems). Both are brainchilds of the powerful Godfrey brothers, one of whom is now deceased.

Gypsy Peter and his mother's arrival in the town coincides with the gruesome slaying of female teens. Rumours abound he is a werewolf. He is actually, but not the culprit. He and new mate Roman Godfrey, son of evil manipulative Olivia, try to track down the killer. Both seventeen year olds have very dark histories which may be about to cause them grief.

The creator aims for a startling change from other shows about vampires, monsters and werewolves. (Just see what is on offer when Peter transforms!) Roman himself has powers only gradually revealed (nosebleeds a hint all is not right). Especially intriguing is his enormous clumping disfigured sister, medical treatment when young having gone horribly wrong. (Actually I rather took to her, which must make me seem very odd.) Burly Sheriff Tom offers a touch of normality, but all too soon is tragically out of his depth.

Films, television and books abound with variations of such themes - charismatic characters and sly humour helping make them a hit with fans of the genre. Unfortunately here there is nothing to lighten. All is gloom and unappealing, the emphasis on shocks. Admittedly there are effective moments of horror, but much boredom in between.

The show may become cult viewing. Not for me though, it simply proving rather nasty and a bit much.

13 episodes. Lengthy bonuses. "Making Hemlock Grove" is quite interesting. "Behind the Screams" (over an hour) could have done with a major edit.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2014
This is an off beat coming of age supernatural drama that is a little less edgy than it is trying to be. Revolving around two 18 year old boys, one a rich white kid, the other the new gypsy loner kid - we soon discover that one is a warewolf and the other has mind control powers - that develop into something a little drker in the last episode. Supported and controled by a supporting cast of mothers, girlfreinds, sisters and townsfolk - it typically tells of people on the outside looking in are generally better than the 'normal' but predjudiced townsfolk. It is both gory and gratuitous - but missing the ness gravitas to make it truly horrorific in the same sence the AHS did so well. It is also sexy and seductive - but missing the mark where say True Blood excelled. It also tries it's hand at teenage agnst and love - but again misses the mark somewhat where dramas such as The Vampire Diaries capture so well. Overall I passed a pleasant weekend watching this drama on DVD but I would not ness run out and buy the Second Series as I found it quite forgetable overall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2014
okay so i am a massive series collector i just seem.to pick new series and compulsive buy which has seen me own alot of great shows .i had read reviews on this and decided it was gunna be my next series by as i am major into dark mysterys but i wil say it.falls just a little short of my expectations .the plot is weak only til the last couple episodes i managed to keep full attention to the tv screen .the most dissapointing thing though i must say is famkee janssen i have always thought she is a terrific actress and have followed All of her acting work but this has ler her down her attempt at a british accent comes across like a bad comedy sketch .But i wont tell you not to take a chance and watch it as minus from the bad accent and a draining start it is watchable. 3/5
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2014
Really enjoyed the series first time around after I was hooked after the second episode. Great performances all round (Bill Skarsgard is definitely one to watch out for!). I would thoroughly recommend the show to any fans of True Blood or American Horror Story. Can't wait for Season 2!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A solid enough horror show. There are some good performances particularly from famke janssen but it moves along at a snails pace. The last couple of episodes are very good & enjoyable and the werewolf transformation is one of the best I've ever seen. If there was more happening in each episode it'd be a very good show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2014
I found this show original and intriguing in a small way obviously there are a lot of vampire, werewolf and supernatural type shows out there, but this one is a little different there is a real mystery that kept me gripped throughout the thirteen episodes which is resolved incidentally. Also the characters in this show are far better drawn than some of the slightly cliched and one dimensional characters from other shows with a bit more depth and more than a little mystery to keep you coming back to find out more about them. Overall the show is well acted and nicely filmed with some interesting colour palettes that give it an otherworldly look so I for one am looking forward to watching season two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 February 2015
I'm surprised this series has had such bad press. Sure, it's not on par with House of Cards, but it's decent, and to be fair, House of Cards was phenomenal. I have a feeling people are comparing this with HoC rather than comparing it with other similar horror series simply because they both have the "Netflix" tag on them. It has a few good twists, some cool character ideas (though it isn't very "deep" despite trying to be so) and some nifty (if somewhat hyper-gory) special effects. I can only encourage Netflix to keep on going with these kinds of projects. As long as they do, I'll stay a subscriber.
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