Most helpful positive review
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A very intriguing series
on 17 May 2014
'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.