19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Dark and odd with a large side order of peculiar.,
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This review is from: Hemlock Grove - The Complete First Season [DVD] (DVD)
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.