Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Hemlock Grove

Directed By: Eli Roth, Deran Sarafian and T.J. Scott
Written By: Brian McGreevy, Lee Shipman and Daniel Paige
Starring: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley
Studio: Netflix

Synopsis: A teenage girl is brutally murdered, sparking a hunt for her killer. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them? (Source)

The Good:
The look of the show is the most impressive thing about HEMLOCK GROVE; it is a beautifully filmed show that truly stands out amongst other TV shows.
The sow did a good job with a few of the characters too: Shelly, the giant deformed high school student with the glowing skin; Christina, the socially awkward wannabe writer, Dr. Pryce, the enigmatic research (mad) scientist; and Dr. Chasseur, the tortured monster hunter were all cool characters that instantly grabbed me and made me want to know more about them.
The werewolf transformation has to be one of the best and more inventive werewolf turns I have ever seen. I would rank it alongside the transformation from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in terms of how impressive it was.
It was also nice to see Aaron Douglas and Kandyse McClure (Tyrol and Dee from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) on TV again.

The Bad:
The pacing of this show was atrocious.After slogging through all 13 episodes of this show I quickly came to the conclusion that the majority of the show was filler and this entire first season could have been trimmed to about 6 or 7 episodes. Until the last two episodes of the show (which I admit were well done) the episodes of this show dragged and there were long periods of time where nothing happened to move the overall story along.
The show was also very muddled and directionless. Characters were introduced in bizarre ways, reveals happened in an unbearably slow manner and even when shown was done in a way that just seemed more confusing than necessary.
There were also some truly horrendous performances from some of the actors in this show. Bill Skarsgård was a mess, Dougray Scott seemed to be sleepwalking through his scenes, and Penelope Mitchell didn’t seem to know what planet she was on.
HEMLOCK GROVE also would have benefited from being a bit less serious about what was a truly ridiculous premise. A little tongue placed firmly in cheek would have gone a long way towards making this show a bit more enjoyable that it ended up being.

The Ugly:
I don’t have a clue what the hell Famke Jannsen was going for in her performance as Olivia Godfrey but she missed the mark by a mile. Starting with an accent that seemed to drift from British to Midwestern to main line Philadelphian right on down to her over the top line readings she was just an awkward and distracting presence in every scene she was in.

Final Verdict: HEMLOCK GROVE has potential and if given a second season I would hope that the people behind the show would tweak it just enough to take it from a maudlin, slow moving TRUE BLOOD/VAMPIRE DIARIES wannabe and make it become the fun and scary show it could (and should) be.

Rating: C

6 thoughts on “Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Hemlock Grove

    1. I was having the same dilemma but I decided to bite the bullet and judge for myself. It didn’t hurt that I tend to be a tab bit of an insomniac so I was able to fit the episodes in while I was having trouble sleeping.


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