Hemlock Grove S:1 E:1 " Jellyfish In The Sky"

"Hemlock Grove" is the second attempt at original programming from online streaming service Netflix. It comes on the heels of the terrific Kevin Spacey led political drama "House Of Cards" and precludes their relaunch of the underrated "Arrested Development." Which, coincidentally, is the perfect way to describe the first episode of "Hemlock Grove."

Based on the book of the same name by author Brian McGreevy but tagged all over the interwebs as being from horror genius Eli Roth, "Grove" starts off with a bang - literally. Brooding (and get used to that word) teenager Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgard) fucks, what can only be described as, the worlds hottest hooker in the front seat of his car, taking the time to slice open his thumb and drink some of his own blood while doing so. I sense a "My Strange Addition" episode in the making! After some broad daylight hooker fucking we are treated to the very familiar feeling OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE!

Post credits, a hot physics teacher is fucking (or at least trying to fuck) one of her hot female students, in a love affair that can only happen in the mind of Hollywood. Waiting at the rendezvous point on Tatooine deep in the woods, something attacks the student. She runs like a good damsel in distress, only to be taken down by some unseen beast. Police wind up baffled because there are no foot prints. Surely there must be some other methods of investigation. But these cops just point at the new kid in town who happens to be waking past the murder scene and accuse him of doing it. Well at least the justice in "Hemlock Grove" is swift.

Said "new kid" is the brooding (yes, another one) Peter Rumancek. Apparently gypsy's, he and his mother have just moved into a broken down old trailer at the edge of the Downton Abbey estate, or rather the Godfrey Estate. He is very good at ooking off into the distance at the sky, stealing jackets from town and flirting with the creepy novelist girl who randomly shows up at his property. She thinks he's a werewolf based on nothing but the fact that his index finger and second finger are the same size. Okay then. Turns out there may be something with this whole werewolf thing. Brooding Peter thinks Roman is some sort of wolf but doesn't know it.

And here lies the central conflict (I think) of the series. Two warring werewolf clans. I could wind up being wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. Either way, both "families" in this case are equally as creepy. The Godfreys are old school classic rich baddies, oh and Roman just may be fucking his mother (Famke Janssen)...or his cousin...or both. He also have a freakishly large disfigured sister, who seems to be responsible (at least in a bi-proxy way) for her fathers death. The Rumanceks are not much better, although I think Peter is supposed to be the protagonist here, it's hard to feel that much sympathy for a dude who doesn't seem to shower that often.

"Arrested Development" is the perfect way to describe what is going on here. Clearly this is headed into some "Twilight-ish" teen angst bullshit direction. You've got pale brooding teens, terrible parenting, two antagonistic camps, even the way the episode is shot looks like it could be some b-roll footage from the first Twilight film. The colors are washed out, with greens and whites brought to the forefront while the other primary colors fade into almost non-existence.

Eli Roth tries. he sprinkles some of his trademarks including a couple of nice looking gore shots of the disemboweled teen. The script has a couple moments where you chuckle or someone says something really clever. There are plenty of interesting questions thrown around that I can only assume we will get the answers to in future episodes. When the show is focusing on the non-brooding miserable looking teens, it does have some life, punch and intrigue. Let's hope it heads more in that direction than where I think it's going to go.

You can check out every episode of Hemlock Grove on Netflix. I will try to review every one in time. However I could just pull a "The River" and get so fed up that I can't bring myself to watch anymore.

Keep Reading - Episode 2!

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