Hemlock Grove: The Early Reviews Are In, And It’s Not Looking Good

    April 19, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Today, Netflix debuted all 13 episodes of their new original series, Hemlock Grove. Based on Brian McGreevy’s book of the same name, the horror series deals with the brutal murder of a teenage girl and eventually, werewolves. The series is produced by Eli Roth of Cabin Fever and Hostel fame.

And the early reviews are in, and they aren’t looking good for Netflix’s third major original series. Here are some blips from some of them:

The L.A. Times: “Let me be clear: As a for-profit visual arts experience, ‘Hemlock Grove’ is terrible in ways that mock the meaning of the word ‘terrible,’ with clunky acting, tra-la-la transitions and at least one monster that walks like a bad Frankenstein and appears to be wearing the very same wig/hat we used.”

The Telegraph: “So is Hemlock Grove another triumph for the TV and film streaming site? The short answer is no. Quite the reverse in fact. Hoping to be a cross between Twin Peaks and True Blood, with a hint of E4’s soapy thriller Revenge thrown in for good measure, this sexed-up 13-part series, I’m afraid, is Netflix’s first dud. Where it tries so desperately to be eerie and esoteric, it winds up as derivative as anything the basic TV channels churn out on a regular basis: hammy, hackneyed and disjointed.”

Variety: “If the underlying formula is as old as ‘Dark Shadows,’ there’s still a need for more narrative momentum than the 13-episode series initially delivers. So while one can understand why Netflix would augment its original slate with this mix of talent, ‘Hemlock Grove’ remains a mere niche confection, one likely to play best among those genre fans who can’t see the forest for the trees.”

HitFix: “But it’s also a mess: a horror series with a weirdly slow build (you don’t even see the lead werewolf character transform until the end of the second episode), a mix of campy performances and competent ones, and just enough intriguing ideas to make me wish the entire thing was a lot better than it is.”

There is a glimmer or hope, as Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, saying, “When all the blood is mopped up, Hemlock, like so many horror flicks before it, is about the ­monster inside all of us and the human bonds that prevent us from becoming our beastliest selves.”

Of course, reviews aren’t everything – just one person’s opinion. But it definitely appears that Hemlock Grove isn’t going to benefit from the widespread, nearly-universal acclaim handed out to Netflix’s last original series – the superb political thriller House of Cards.

  • renisha

    i liked it i’m not finished watching….but i like it

  • David R

    Critics always hate horror movies and horror TV shows.

  • carrie winneshiek

    i happen to like hemlock grove alot thought it was very interesting and kept me watching. i would like to see a season 2 come out. will their be a season 2?

  • maria g

    I personally LOVE the show, its so unique and weird in the best ways possible. I feel as though this show was meant just for me as I have been waiting for a show like this my whole life

  • M. T.

    I’ve finally watched this series. My main gripes are universal. Fleshing out the characters on film was rushed and incomplete. Having edits that felt like the editor was on coke themselves did NOT help. A dissolve from the two main characters to their MOMS in a parking lot, with NO CLUE how the moms had even MET at that point? Really. Having Peters mom babble like a psychotic off her meds and appear to be talking to herself only didn’t help flesh the character out. For about 4 episodes? I couldn’t keep some female characters seperate as to who they were? Too slow and shallow a character development in a ” bums rush” to get everyone introduced, yet keep what they were vague. Yikes! It did get better? But. If Season 2 devolves into chop edits and rushed character development with Lithium/Acid flashbacks? Most viewers will not have the patience to bother further. They made the pregnant cousin so selectively retarded towards the end that I wanted to slap the stupid out of her. All in an effort to steer the story line? Savvy screen goers don’t like drivel driven plot points. Make Season 2 better!