I know, I know, I’m a little late to the dance talking about this show, but I finally finished the first season of Hemlock Grove last night. And I just wanted to briefly share my thoughts on it. While a lot of people have enjoyed this show so far, there are, as always, those on the opposite side of the fence who didn’t. And I have to say, in this case the split opinion of the show is sort of justified. It’s a weird show, with weird characters and weird situations that take place throughout. Let’s get into it so I can let you know where I stand.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, the overarching story is pretty straightforward: in the normally quiet town of Hemlock Grove, a girl is viciously torn apart while out for a jog. Naturally the whole town is unnerved by this, and several people are suspected to be responsible, including Peter, the recently arrived Roma (gypsy). It doesn’t help that the murder looks like it could have been done by a wild animal, and Peter may or may not be a werewolf. Ok, Peter totally is a werewolf. It’s not a spoiler, you get confirmation of this very early into the season.
Peter soon befriends Roman Godfrey, the town’s loner rich kid and heir to his late father’s biotech facility. There are many other characters with their own storylines (some related to the murders, some not), but Roman and Peter are focused on a little more it seems. I’m not going to get into the other aspects of the show in this review, as there a lot and I feel you should watch and see them for yourselves. At any rate, Roman and Peter eventually work together to investigate who or what is behind the increasing number of deaths in Hemlock Grove.
In my opinion, whether or not you’ll like the show depends on the mind frame you have going in. If you’re looking for some serious action or grisly death scenes, you are, for the most part, shit out of luck. This show is what I like to call a “dialogue sandwich.” The first couple of episodes and the last couple of episodes have some great looking gore, werewolf transformations, and a little action. But just about everything in between slows to a crawl. It’s very dialogue heavy, and so if you’re looking to be hit with a lot of heavily gory visuals throughout the season, you’re going to be somewhat disappointed. Although, there are quite a number of very strange things that people see/do that will certainly catch your attention.
All that being said, if you are a fan of character and storyline development, this show does an excellent job in my opinion. While I did catch myself a few times thinking to myself “when is something going to happen?”, I found the character development and their connection to the main plot and each other to be very well done. If it wasn’t for the characters being so damn interesting, I probably would have stopped watching, to be perfectly honest. I found the entire Godfrey family to be especially fascinating, even more so the more you learn about them. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to learn about them, and by season’s end I forgave the lack of action I went in expecting.
Oh, and a brief word about the werewolf transformation that wowed so many people. I thought for a CGI/practical transformation it was very visceral and impressive for sure. But is it better than the transformation in American Werewolf in London? I would have to say close, but no cigar. In a couple of quick shots it was very obviously CGI, and it sort of took me out of the experience as a whole.
So, in closing, if you have the patience to get through the talking throughout the season, you’ll enjoy Hemlock Grove. And if you don’t, I still recommend you at least give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised. Until next time, rest in peace.
Macabre Rating: 4 out of 5 tombstones