Saturday, June 22, 2013
TV SHOW REVIEW: HEMLOCK GROVE
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?
Cast: Famke Janssen, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley, Bill Skarsgård, Freya Tingley, Kandyse McClure, Aaron Douglas
Executive producer(s) Eli Roth, Charles H. Eglee, Eric Newman, Michael Connolly, Lee Shipman, Brian McGreevy, Dan Paige
Written by Brian McGreevy Lee Shipman Dan Paige
Hemlock Grove feels familiar, incredibly familiar. A multitude of supernatural themed shows litter the airwaves and movie screens. Shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries cover somewhat similar territory with the latter proving to be a more consistently written product. Hemlock Grove has an uphill battle from the start. It has to bring us engaging characters and a new slant on certain genre tropes. Does it succeed? Not really. The central mystery at the heart of season 1 is rather uninteresting and the final reveal is telegraphed early on. The characters vary from semi interesting to bland. The fact that a mute comes off as the most intriguing character speaks volumes. The cast has a few stand outs such as Landon Liboiron as Peter Rumancek. Liboiron performance feels comfortable and natural throughout and he never comes across like he’s trying too hard unlike Bill Skarsgård. Skarsgård’s performance undersells what’s supposed to be a sexy conflicted lead; instead he comes off as whiny and disinterring. Nicole Boivin with Amazon Eve working as her massive body double as Shelly, the mute mutant Godfrey sister, emotes more through simple looks, while under extensive make up, than most of her cast mates. A usually reliable Dougray Scott comes off as stiff and fairly bland even though he’s a regular cast member. Battlestar Galactica alums, Aaron Douglas and Kandyse McClure are surprisingly bad. Some of their line delivers, especially some of the more emotional moments, miss the mark badly. Bad acting is hardly limited to them because it does pester the first season like an annoying fly. The best example of this is Famke Janssen. Janssen, with a truly embarrassing and distracting “British” accent, chews up scenery like she hasn’t eaten for weeks. Her character is supposed to be a rich, sexy man eater with a biting tongue. Janssen’s performance rarely hits her mark, occasionally falling into camp territory. Her character doesn’t become truly interesting until the latter episodes. The same can be said for the season as a whole. Its plot hints at a supernatural sci-fi, religious mix but stays in a holding pattern for most of the season. As a result, most of the plot feels like a trudge mainly because the ”twists” revealed in the latter episodes are fairly obvious and you wished it’d just get on with it already. After the reveals, the series seems to find some much stronger forward moment, something it could have sorely used earlier on. Let’s hope season 2, just confirmed, can take advantage of it.