Hemlock Grove

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Hemlock Grove TV Poster Image
High school-set horror series is gory, sexy, and strange.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's some suggestion of humanity in Hemlock Grove, but the overall tone is dark, dangerous, and foreboding. Duplicity and duality are common themes, exploring rich vs. poor, good vs. evil, and truth vs. lies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two main characters are working together to find a killer in spite of their differences. That said, neither is a role model you'd want your teen to fully emulate. There are some meaty (and equally sketchy) roles for women, too, but young girls also make up 100 percent of the murder victims.

Violence

Violence isn't constant but when it happens, it's gratuitous and gross -- with eyeballs, teeth, and entrails popping out; skin ripping; blood pooling, etc. Teen girls are savagely murdered, although their deaths aren't shown fully onscreen.

Sex

Simulated sex acts with visible breasts/nipples/buttocks. One character combines his hunger for sex with a thirst for blood, including a disturbing scene involving oral sex with a high school girl who has her period. A teen girl becomes pregnant (but claims the baby's father is an angel), and one scene alludes to a same-sex affair between a teacher and a student.

Language

Unbleeped language includes "f--k" and "s--t," along with terms like "balls" and "retard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen characters drink alcohol regularly with no apparent consequences (a wealthy teen has a bar in his bedroom, etc.). Others use pot and cocaine, and some characters smoke cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the residents of Hemlock Grove are a strange crew of misfits and monsters (both literally and figuratively) who are grappling with an unsolved series of murders. Teens might be interested because the setting is high school and many of the characters are teens, but the violent content is gratuitous and gross, and you'll see simulated (and sometimes bloody) sex acts with partial nudity, including breasts, nipples, and buttocks, making the series appropriate for adults only. You'll also hear unbleeped language that includes the F-bomb and everything in between. Teen characters smoke and drink alcohol, too, and use illegal drugs (including pot and cocaine) with no real consequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAmericanplaya217 July 24, 2013

okay

The show is very violent with bloody and rape scenes, the show has many sex scenes including teens and an affair, there is graphic language and many drinks and... Continue reading
Parent Written bybkozura March 31, 2015

Adult Supervision Required

With the FCC rules of television viewership out the window due to streaming shows, it's time for parents to take a more active stance on what their kids wa... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydrwhovian May 26, 2013

Good but bad. But good

Although I watched this and am 15, I wouldn't suggest this to younger teens or children for that matter. The show has more mature themes, but if you think... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bythePrettyDead August 13, 2015

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

This show is amazing. It takes a new twist on werewolves which is even better. It has a LOT of blood, which means if you're squeamish about blood you can f... Continue reading

What's the story?

Soon after newcomer Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) and his mother (Lili Taylor) move to the woodsy town of HEMLOCK GROVE, a high school girl is brutally murdered, and Peter finds himself fending off suspicions that he's the killer -- and a werewolf. But Peter's equally suspicious of Roman Godfrey (Bill Skargård), a wealthy classmate he believes to be a vampire, or "upir," with an insatiable thirst for blood, a sideshow of a sister (Nicole Boivin/Michael Andreae) and a mother (Famke Janssen) with mysterious powers. The plot thickens when a second girl turns up dead, and Peter and Roman team up to find the source of the town's bad karma.

Is it any good?

Even though they have nothing in common, it's hard not to compare the horror-thriller Hemlock Grove with the political drama House of Cards. Mostly because the critically lauded House of Cards -- which marks the second of Netflix's forays into original series territory (the first was the fish-out-water mobster drama Lilyhammer) -- was so good, both in terms of quality, story, and acting, that you'd expect Hemlock Grove to follow suit. But prepare to be disappointed, dear viewers, for Hemlock Grove is no House of Cards. (And you should also prepare to get totally grossed out in episode 2.)

Even diehards of the genre will find fault with the show's uneven mix of hokey and horrific elements; a storyline that's often confusing; and acting that isn't always up to standard. (Notable exceptions are Lili Taylor and Landon Liboiron, who succeed at forging a mother-son relationship that feels refreshingly believable, and Nicole Boivin and Michael Andreae, who join forces to create a character who's hands down the town's most intriguing resident.) If you stick around long enough, Hemlock Grove just might grow on you. But for most viewers, a brief visit will be all they can stomach.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the trend toward the supernatural in movies, television, books, and more. Why have vampires, werewolves, witches and the like become such popular protagonists? Does Hemlock Grove add anything new to the mix, or is it merely a rehash of things we've seen before?

  • How does Hemlock Grove compare to other shows with supernatural themes in terms of tone, style, and substance? Is it a horror series, a straight drama, or a comedy? How does it compare with the book that inspired it?

  • Can Hemlock Grove get away with sexual and violent content other shows can't since it airs exclusively on Netflix? What, if anything, would the producers have to change in order for it to air on cable or network TV?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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