Hemlock Grove (2013)
Starring: Aaron Douglas, Bill Skarsgård, Dougray Scott, Famke Janssen, Freya Tingley, Joel de la Fuente, Kandyse McClure, Kaniehtiio Horn, Landon Liboiron, Lili Taylor, Madeleine Martin, Michael Andreae
Hemlock Grove Season One Review
A Netflix Original Series
A gypsy teen named Peter Rumancek and his mother Lynda move into the old trailer of cousin Vince in the small town of Hemlock Grove. On first appearance, the town seems normal but with Peter and Lynda’s arrival, some brutal occurances suggest otherwise. When a schoolgirl is found savagely murdered, rumours begin to spread that a werewolf is to blame and that Peter Rumancek is the beast. Alienated by his peers, Peter manages to make friends with Roman Godfrey, a teen who’s mother is the richest person in Hemlock Grove thanks to his father’s science and technology research business operated out of the building known as The White Tower. Discovering they share the same dreams, Peter and Roman make it their duty to uncover the truth about them and to find the Hemlock Grove killer before it strikes again.
Hemlock Grove is a strange specimen. It’s highly addictive with its tale of friendship between two teenage boys who aren’t quite human, one of whom doesn’t quite realise it yet, and their quest to do right in the world. The overarching focus of the entire first series is the beast that has been attacking the young girls, a creature which Peter and Roman are detemined to stop. Other questions are thrown up such as what are the hidden experiments at The White Tower, what exactly is an upir, what are Olivia Godfrey’s true intentions and what happened to Roman’s sister Shelley, a girl who has strange abilities whilst also suffering from disabilities. Hemlock Grove is far from a normal town and its many secrets and mysterious past are what keeps the viewer interested as well as the charisma of its lead characters. It’s not short of sex appeal either with Famke Jannsen as the sultry Olivia Godfrey, dressed to impress at every turn, the wild and hairy Peter, his attractive fortune teller therapist cousin Destiny and the slick-backed 1950’s style Roman, driving around in his old car and humping every girl he can lay his hands on. If it’s not blood these creatures want, it’s sex, and they have plenty of it.
Hemlock Grove is as much a drama as it is a horror and mystery too. Both Peter and Roman are likable in their two different ways, with the latter having a more dubious streak in him. Their relationship with each other, their parents and Roman’s cousin Letha make them a complex weave, almost as if Peter and Roman were more connected, like family. Both the Godfrey’s and the Rumancek’s seem to want the same thing but its hinted that their species should be sworn enemies which makes it interesting how the future relationship between these two families will develop over the next season.
Horror fans are treated to their fair share of grisly shenanigans as well as a couple of werewolf transformation scenes that really impress. They might utilise more CGI than I would like, but they’re still fairly cool to watch and believable at the same time. The real physical appearance of Olivia and Roman Godfrey have yet to be revealed but judging from the shadows and screams, an Upir is not one to be messed with.
Laced with humour, adventure, sex and death, there’s lots to enjoy about the mysterious and quirky Hemlock Grove. Season One feels much like an introduction to the town and its characters with plenty of secrets to be revealed during the course of the second series and I wouldn’t be surprised if more questions were raised too.