I Have Seen the Dragon: in Hemlock Grove
There is something strange going on in the town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania. Home of the powerful Godfrey family, a family of dark secrets, a family not entirely human. An angel has been sighted, and a gypsy werewolf has set up home on the outskirts of town. But the most unsettling are the sudden, violent wolf attacks.
“Hemlock Grove” is a novel by Brian McGreevy, but last year was made into a TV series on Netflix. The first episode is extremely creepy, starting with the brutal murder of a teenage girl, who is ripped apart by a savage werewolf. The series follows the gypsy werewolf, Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) who has recently moved to Hemlock Grove. He soon makes friends with Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgard) …Skarsgard is the brother of Alexander Skarsgard who plays Eric in True Blood… the spoiled son of the poisonous Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen).
The Godfrey family are the owners of the Hemlock Acres Hospital and the Godfrey Institute for Biomedical Technologies, also just known as the White Tower. Olivia Godfrey is a venomous spider in the centre of Hemlock Grove, her only cares are for money and for her son reaching his full potential. It is clear that Olivia has smothered Roman all of his life, making him a bit of a “mama’s boy”, a reluctant one who loves to test the boundaries his mother has placed around him.
When Roman becomes friends with the local gypsy boy…and I should add that Olivia shows a lot of contempt towards gypsies…it becomes clear that the little rich boy who has everything is in fact starved of affection and friendship. Roman, the boy who has a hypnotic ability to control people’s actions and a slight obsession with blood, soon becomes very reliant on Peter. The two teenagers form a very close friendship; which in fact is quite sweet, especially seeing how happy Roman is now he finally has a true friend…although if I’m honest during some scenes you half expect one of them to lean in for a kiss.
The last member of the Godfrey family is Shelly Godfrey (Nicole Boivin), a very tall girl with crippled hands. She can’t speak and wears a wig to cover her baldness and her mutated eye. When embarrassed or when she blushes her face releases a soft blue glow. Shelly died at birth, but her father took her body to the White Tower where the scientists there brought her back from the dead; but what returned wasn’t entirely human. Shelly is good hearted, and a very likable character. She is Roman’s one weakness, since he will do anything for his sister. Shelly’s story is a sad one, but her sudden appearance in episode 1 adds to the creepiness of this strange town.
Peter and Roman’s friendship soon become based around the wolf attacks that are happening around Hemlock Grove. Soon they discover that it’s not just a werewolf that is attacking these young women in town, but a vargulf, a werewolf that has gone insane. This evil presence stalking in the shadows of this series creates a very unsettling mood, and some of the bloody scenes left behind by the vargulf are heart wrenching. The way that we discover the identity of the vargulf is brilliantly done, and raises goose bumps as the story slowly comes together; especially as we discover how the vargulf was turned and the causes of their insanity.
As Peter and Roman follow their journey into finding the vargulf, they soon cross paths with Dr. Clementine Chasseur (Kandyse McClure) an agent of the mysterious religious order, the Order of the Dragon. New mysteries soon arise and they all revolve around the White Tower, concealing a dark secret hidden deep within its catacombs. Those who get too close to this secret believe that they “…have seen the dragon…”.
“Hemlock Grove” is an amazing series that came out roughly a year ago, its creepy, slightly twisted, and with just the right amount of gore. The characters in this series are brilliantly constructed, and extremely likable. It has been reported that a second season will be coming out, but as to when there has been no word. But if you are looking for a new series to watch then get onto Netflix and start watching!
Words by Luke Dighton