A sizzling new American show recently made its debut on Netflix, quickly igniting discussions all across the internet.
This is the level of anticipation that The Fall of the House of Usher is generating.
Drawing inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s literary works, the series delves deep into the horror genre with a chilling exploration of psychotic behavior.
Apart from carrying an enticing title, The Fall of the House of Usher also brings along an ensemble cast.
The series clocks a runtime of over eight hours spread across eight episodes. Lengthy?
Well, the real question is whether this American show deserves your time. Here’s my review to help with the same.
The Fall of the House of Usher Synopsis
Rodrick Usher, the founder of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, is embroiled in a court case when his children start dying one by one, resulting in The Fall of the House of Usher.
The billionaire, who carries every power of the country in his pocket, struggles to find the reason behind the events until the reason reveals itself.
Created by Mike Flanagan, the series features Carla Gugino (Verna), Bruce Greenwood (Roderick Usher), Mary Mcdonnell (Madeline), Henry Thomas (Frederick), Kate Siegel (Camille), Rahul Kohli (Leo), Samantha Sloyan (Tamerlane), T’nia Miller (Victorine), Zach Gilford (young Roderick), Willa Fitzgerald (young Madeline), Michael Trucco (Griswold), Sauriyan Sapkota (Perry), Katie Parker (Annabelle), Kyliegh Curran (Lenore), Carl Lumbly (Dupin), and Mark Hamill (Pym) in lead roles.
What Works for The Fall of the House of Usher?
Before delving into any other aspects, it’s crucial to highlight the exceptional writing in the show, which owes its brilliance to the legendary author, Edgar Allan Poe.
The Fall of the House of Usher doesn’t draw from any single Poe story; instead, it weaves together elements from various short tales penned by this literary master.
Even the names of the characters have not been tinkered with, as far as I remember.
Edgar’s writing is refreshingly unpretentious, and if you were to adapt his stories to the screen without modifying them for the modern audience, they would still possess the same captivating allure.
His prose has the power to thaw even the coldest of hearts. While I could sing praises of his art indefinitely, it’s equally important to discuss the transition from literature to screen.
Dany Parker, Justina Ireland, and Kiele Sanchez have made significant contributions to this adaptation.
Their touch enhances The Fall of the House of Usher, and it becomes even more enthralling.
The Lemon analogy, sure to become a topic of conversation, is just one example of how the series skilfully interweaves present-day references into Poe’s original narrative, creating a resonance with contemporary audiences.
Moreover, the show fulfills its promise of delivering genuine chills, with the background score playing a pivotal role.
Unlike some recent horror productions, this one consistently manages to startle and unnerve the viewer.
The eerie atmosphere harmonizes seamlessly with the escalating musical tensions, ensuring that the suspense remains palpable.
The strategic integration of enhanced visual effects lends The Fall of the House of Usher a sustained sense of momentum that keeps the goosebumps coming.
Once you start getting hold of the characters, the storyline, and how the plot is moving, I think most viewers who have not read Edgar Allan Poe would place this series among the best of Netflix’s offerings.
The series’ screenplay is a captivating blend of flashbacks, spine-tingling monologues, and heart-pounding developments.
The Fall of the House of Usher exerts a magnetic pull, firmly anchoring you to your screen, making it impossible to turn away.
It comes alive, grows on you, and fills you with all sorts of emotional trepidations you’d expect from a top-tier horror production.
You feel sensations through the brilliantly followed volatile acting process combined with an utterly suspenseful narrative.
The discoveries in The Fall of the House of Usher are scarce and mysteries play a dominant role in the scheme of things.
Crucially, it’s a patient narrative that doesn’t hastily unveil its secrets, all while maintaining a relentless pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Also, the cinematography is remarkable. I loved the ultra-slow-motion scene in episode 6 and it will stay with me for a while, at least.
Another thing I would like to mention is the bluntness with which the writing talks about important issues.
It explores subjects like abortion, corporate greed, pharmaceutical scandals, irrational consumer demands, and commentary on the Supreme Court, among others, giving it a rich layer of depth and relevance.
How are the Performances?
Carla Gugino is the enigma that keeps you interested in the series. As Verna, she fulfills her responsibility with vigor.
Her effortless occupation of the screen makes The Fall of the House of Usher retain itself time and again.
Bruce Greenwood, portraying Roderick Usher, delivers a stellar performance marked by vocal depth and delicate expressions.
His presence elevates the story to its intended heights, infusing the series with style, sophistication, and visual brilliance.
Mary Mcdonnell is another enchanting actress. Her portrayal of Madeline never caves in. She transports her esteem to the character, making it come alive.
Henry Thomas brings a brittle yet impressive touch to Frederick’s character. When the plot shines a spotlight on him, he maximizes the opportunity with his exceptional skills.
Kate Siegel plays Camille in The Fall of the House of Usher and her outing is among the best. Her fluent dialogue delivery leaves you mesmerized.
I just wish Siegel had a little more screen time. You cannot miss her little unapologetic monologues in the series.
Rahul Kohli as Leo starts humbly but goes on to become a mammoth pillar of on-screen acts. His hold on intensity was the standout for me.
Samantha Sloyan, in her role as Tamerlane, offers a class act, embodying a mix of authority and stubbornness, all wrapped in a rustic aura of longing.
T’Nia Miller’s portrayal of Victorine commands attention with her captivating presence, making her a focal point whenever she takes center stage.
Carl Lumbly and Mark Hamill are two extraordinary actors with unending powers. They can do wonders without making a fuss about it.
The quietude in Lumbly’s demeanor and the astuteness in Hamill’s artwork are clap-worthy aspects.
Zach Gilford and Willa Fitzgerald team up for sibling mischief in The Fall of the House of Usher.
Willa’s stylish grace enhances her artistic prowess in front of the camera, while Zach’s commitment to his character shines through.
Of course, every other member of the cast delivers top-notch performances, but due to limitations, I can’t mention each one individually.
What Doesn’t Work for The Fall of the House of Usher?
As for my belief in interesting storytelling, I don’t see any flaws in the Netflix series.
Any lingering narrative concerns I had were effectively addressed within the context of the story by the sixth episode.
Stream or Skip?
Is that even a question? You have got to watch this marvelous show unfold. It is fulfilling and intriguing and might even force you to look into Edgar Allen Poe’s works.