The Fall of the House of Usher | Review by: Benjamin Garrett
Mike Flanagan is back with the latest of his annual Netflix collaborations, and if you weren’t already convinced that he’s a maestro of modern horror, you will be now. The Fall of the House of Usher brilliantly pulls from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, weaving a larger narrative around several of the acclaimed author’s stories.
Like much of Flanagan’s past work, this is another dialogue heavy outing. The abundance of wordy monologues and conversational back-and-forth makes way for a remarkable performance showcase. Each and every actor is given plenty of delectable material to chew on, and make the most of every second of screen time. The cast is comprised of Flanagan’s regular players, and this group works marvellously together. Bruce Greenwood gives a commanding performance as the head of the Usher family, and Carla Gugino slips playfully into a variety of different roles with ease. It truly is a performance showcase.
There’s an overarching series narrative, but each episode tells a modernized version of one of Poe’s stories, focusing on a single member of the Usher family. The episodes all follow a very similar structure, which can lead to a feeling of minor repetitiveness, but they’re so well executed and acted that it’s hardly an issue. It’s fascinating how Flanagan was able to not only bring these two century old stories into the modern age, but tie them all together in a thematically satisfying way.
Although it’s still very much a horror story, this series is a lot lighter than we’re used to from Flanagan. There’s plenty of truly disturbing imagery, and a few well placed jump scares, but along with it comes a refreshing sense of humour. The added levity never detracts from the weight of this tragic tale, and feels entirely natural to these characters’ dire situations. It honestly compliments the horror elements beautifully
The Fall of the House of Usher is another gorgeously crafted, expertly penned and brilliantly acted entry in Flanagan’s impressive horror catalogue. It skillfully modernizes Poe’s stories, weaving them around a tragic portrait of corporate greed, and the wealthy family at the heart of it all.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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