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

    April 19, 2013
    Josh Wolford

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.