THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Starring: Bruce Greenwood, Mary McDonnell, Carla Gugino, Mark Hamill, Zach Gilford, Willa Fitzgerald, Rahul Kohli, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, T’Nia Miller, Samantha Sloyan, Sauriyan Sapkota, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Katie Parker, and Ruth Codd
Creator: Mike Flanagan
The Fall of The House of Usher oozes with suspense and chills. While the family in this series may be crumbling, showrunner Mike Flanagan certainly isn’t, as he continues to prove he is a Master of Modern Horror. The sheer atmosphere of this show will give you the creeps, and while there are some flaws, its storytelling approach is top notch. This may be Mike Flanagan’s best work to date, featuring a stellar cast of Flanagan regulars who manage to make Usher feel like the horror version of Succession.
Though not without effective jump scares and haunting imagery, The Fall of the House of Usher is more chilling than outright scary, but that doesn’t make series creator Mike Flanagan’s final Netflix offering any less of a win. The storytelling structure…a man discussing his family’s downfall…provides a captivating overarching narrative even though the overall season plays like an anthology of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous stories. This brilliant approach, coupled with terrific performances, timely themes, and proven source material, make for one of Netflix’s best series (even if some episodes work better than others). It certainly creates excitement for what Flanagan might do at Amazon.
Reminiscent of Dopesick, Succession, and Final Destination, The Fall of the House of Usher is an incredible addition to Mike Flanagan’s impressive back catalogue of horror shows. It’s unsettling, gory, and darkly funny, while Flanagan seamlessly weaves Edgar Allen Poe’s stories together with his storytelling, using the source material to enhance the narrative rather than being beholden to it. The structure is engaging and fun, and I was both dreading and looking forward to finding out the unique ways that each irredeemable Usher offspring would be tortured with each episode. And, as always, the regular cast’s performances are fantastic.
Mike Flanagan's Netflix era only has one miss (The Midnight Club), yet somehow The Fall of the House of Usher beats the odds to become his strongest effort. Anchored by an enthralling performance from Bruce Greenwood, Flanagan's familiar cast is terrific (including a wonderfully off-type Mark Hamill) as they enrich each of these characters with depth and nuance. It’s a bit of a departure from his previous work, but still features many of Flanagan’s staples, including some truly terrifying imagery. Add in his ability to, not only adapt the works of Edgar Allan Poe, but modernize them, and House of Usher is a touch of brilliance.