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?
Hoo boy. If this is not the GREATEST TERRIBLE THING in the history of TV, I’m not really sure what is. Because Hemlock Grove is all kinds of effed up, y’all, and not in a “I can’t believe they went there” way. More like a “I can’t believe this shit actually made it through the creative process without spontaneously bursting from the sheer awful that it contains.”
In a small Pennsylvania town called Hemlock Grove, a girl named Brooke Bluebell (yes, Brooke Bluebell) is savagely murdered. Brooke Bluebell enjoys having sex with lots of people, but unlike Laura Palmer, literally no one in the history of ever cares that Brooke Bluebell is dead and we never really learn anything else about her, ever again.
Unfortunately, Brooke Bluebell’s death (and no, I’ll never stop writing Brooke Bluebell if given even half the chance.) coincides with the arrival of Peter and his mother, Lili Taylor (I think her name is Linda, but who cares, it’s Lily Taylor), who happen to be Romany and, you know, werewolves. Well, Peter’s a werewolf – Lili Taylor seems to be mostly just a layabout and cheerful drug user. Everyone in town is very suspicious of them both, and they waste no time with accusing them of being werewolves. They also use the word “gypsy” like every five minutes, because apparently no one in the town of Hemlock Grove has ever read a book. Or even Wikipedia.
Hemlock Grove has one major employer in town (of course they do), The Godfrey Institute. Said Godfreys consist of the following: Roman, heir apparent; Shelley, his younger sister who is 9 feet tall and has a giant fake eye and doesn’t talk and constantly has bandaged arms (Shelley has a lot of issues, y’all); Olivia, their mother, played by Famke Janssen using all 18 accents in her repertoire; Norman, Olivia’s (dead) husband’s brother and Lethe, Norman’s daughter who is knocked up by angels or Roman or, well, we’re not really sure.
Another girl named Lisa also gets killed, and shy “novelist” Christina, who I think only exists in this show to fulfill some sort of unknown River Tam quota, finds the body. As she has already decided that Peter is a werewolf, the town casts their suspicions on them. This makes Roman, who enjoys being ornery, team up with Peter to Solve! The! Mystery!
I don’t think I’m appropriately expressing how terrible this show is with my words in English, so please allow me to say this in a made-up language: “Nietzhaie un’tagh fijetzi plavos.” In made-up language, that means “this show is the worst fucking shit I’ve ever seen in my entire fucking life, and I’m 33 fucking years old, y’all. And one time I watched The Smokers, y’all. The direction is terrible, the set design makes me want to die from secondhand embarrassment, I’m like 98% sure the actors are reading off of cue cards, and the pacing is so slow that I want to rip my own eyeballs out of my school, eat them, and then barf them back up like everyone else on this fucking show seems to do.” (It’s a very economical language.)
Now that there’s officially a werewolf spree going on, Dr Clementine Something-or-other comes to town to investigate. Dr Clementine seems to be a monster hunter from the Vatican or something. She’s in The Order of the Dragon. She violently kills a pregnant girl who was a werewolf, but she also finds Peter to be particularly hairy, so I don’t know that her judgement is all too keen.
ALSO, there’s some job drama happening at The Godfrey Institute, because Olivia inherited the Godfrey Institute after her husband, JR, killed himself and now Roman is supposed to get it but that pisses off Norman? And there’s also a hilarious guy named Dr Johann Pryce who is running it who may also be evil? He actually is hilarious – his scenes and the scenes of Christina’s twin friends are really the only bright spots in this entire show.
Anyway, all of the stuff I just explained? Happened in only the first six episodes. OF AN ELEVEN EPISODE SERIES. Because literally nothing fucking happens on this show at all. It’s based on a book and I have to wonder – how shitty does that book have to be?
Famke Janssen as Olivia
Famke Janssen plays Olivia and she may have had a series of small strokes during the filming of this show? I ask this because her accent changes LITERALLY EVERY OTHER WORD. She can’t manage to complete even one sentence in the same accent. I don’t really understand why or how or why or what or why? But I really loved Famke when I was younger – I remember telling my parents I wanted to change my name to Famke when I was 14. Anyway, you know, she’s Famke. Bond Girl, Jean Grey, Ava on Nip/Tuck.
Lili Taylor as Lynda
Lili Taylor plays Lynda. Lili Taylor is in everything. Usually Lili Taylor makes everything she’s in better. Not this time, sadly. Not this time.
Dougray Scott as Norman
Dougray Scott plays Norman, Roman and Shelley’s uncle, Lethe’s father and Olivia’s lover. (P.S. Olivia wears corsets. DAILY. It’s kind of amazing? She refuses to have sex without them.) You remember Dougray Scott from being FUCKING PRINCE CHARMING IN EVER AFTER and then thinking to your teenaged self, “how do you pronounce ‘Dougray,’ anyway?”
Bill Skarsgaard as Roman
Bill Skarsgaard plays Roman, and yes, he’s one of those Skarsgaards. Does anyone ever wonder if the Skarsgaard family is some sort of Swedish intelligence unit? Invading the United States with hotness?
Landon Liboiron as Peter
And Landon Liboiron plays Peter, the Roma werewolf. Yes, yes. He was in Degrassi. Feel free to reply in all caps about whatever character he played in Degrassi as if the rest of us will know what you are talking about.
Couch-Sharing Capabilities: The Only Way
Do not do what I did, friends. Do not watch this show while involved in a time-consuming craft that requires hours of painstaking work. Because you will just get angry, like I did, and then your hand will slip and you’ll end up cutting off one of your illustrated legs. SEVERAL TIMES. No, instead, watch this show with friends (those who can stand a fairly high amount of gore, but it’s all CGI and crappy, so.). Watch it with many, many drinks and have a drinking game! Here, I made up three rules for you:
- Drink everytime something looks gross onscreen.
- Drink everytime Famke speaks.
- Drink everytime you ask yourself, “what the fuck is this shit?”
You’ll be TANKED.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Very, Very High
Maybe if you got very, very high this show would make sense? I REALLY DON’T KNOW, but someone do that and report back to me.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Outrageous
If you think about it, these Netflix Series ARE the use of your subscription! You, the Netflix customer, paid for this shit to be written, filmed and released! THIS IS YOUR FAULT.