30th Mar2014

‘Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

HEMLOCK_GROVE_2D_DVD

When companies like Netflix and Amazon starting to announce original series that would be hosted exclusively by them, I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t really that interested.  Kevin Spacey changed this view somewhat with House of Cards, but Hemlock Grove caught my interest even more.  With good word of mouth and interesting trailers featuring a transformation that was reminiscent of The Company of Wolves I at least wanted to give the show a chance.  So making sure my subscription to Netflix was active I waited patiently for the show to be available with the thought of watching one or two of the episodes.  A whole day later I sat pretty damn impressed by what I’d seen – and now I can add the entire series to my collection with this DVD release.

The story of Hemlock Grove focuses on the lives of two families, one based on Wealth with Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen) in control.  Her son Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård) is on a mission of self-destruction.  When a gypsy family make their home in the small town girls start dying and suspicious eyes turn to the newcomers as potential suspects.  Roman though thinks differently and befriending Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) they decide to investigate just who killed the girls.  The added twist of course is that the boys may not be what they at first seem.

I’m not going to say much about the secrets, but I’m fair if you’ve seen the trailers you know what Peter’s secret is at least.  Both Skarsgård and Liboiron work well with each other to create a team who although have a friendship have little trust for each other.  Don’t think you’ll be able to settle into a predictable tale though as things do change, especially when you meet Roman’s sister Shelley played by Nicole Boivin, she steals the show and is one of the biggest mysteries of the show.  She’s somewhat of an observer of events, though it’s surprising that she can hide in the scenery when she looks to be around seven foot and his huge and muscular.  She is important to the show though and for me is the most interesting character you’ll meet.

So I know I’m being very positive about Hemlock Grove, but the fact is there are some negatives.  Early on in the season you’ll laugh unintentionally at some of the cheesy lines in the script.  There are a few times that the script is shown to be the weakness in the show.  I’m glad to say though that this does not last for long as the actors get the feeling for their characters and the script writers appear to get a feel of what they should be saying, and lowering the cheese level just a bit.

I’m sure there are some who will wonder if this is another Vampire Diaries, True Blood or even worse Twilight, well I’d argue that this is closer to True Blood but without the comedy they try to put into that show.  I’d say that True Blood does have better moments, and would probably win if we had to tally up the positives of the show, but for what Hemlock Grove is this is an excellent start for the show.  I say an excellent start, because by the end of the season you can tell there are plans for a lot more to the show and I’m really hoping as a horror fan that we get it.

The big question has to be what do I think about the show as a Netflix Original Series, and if this model (Netflix debut, followed by DVD/Blu-ray) for releasing shows is going to work? If the quality we get is going to be Hemlock Grove then yes, I think this is something that should continue.  The show itself feels like it takes a lot of risks in terms of just how risqué it is, there is sex, violence and some excellent gore in it, and in fact it never lets up.  At the end of the season some of the revelations and events will emotionally drain you and even have you swearing at the television, or it did me at least.  I’m not sure about one of the revelations, which is the biggest but I’ll have to wait till the next season to see how it goes.  All I know is Hemlock Groveis one series that I want more of, and I want it now.

Hemlock Grove is released 21 April via digital download, digital rental and on DVD and Blu-ray.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com
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