The reviews are in and Netflix has a horror hit on its hands with The Fall of the House of Usher. The show is “a gleefully terrifying take on Edgar Allen Poe,” says The Guardian, while Rolling Stone says it’s “a literary orgy of death”, which we think is a compliment. Variety says it’s “gruesome”, Metro says it’s “gripping” and IGN says it “is some of Flanagan’s best work”.
Given that the Flanagan in question is Mike Flanagan of The Haunting of Hill House fame, it was never likely to be a dud. But the reviews are particularly delighted here. Rolling Stone says it’s like a more highbrow American Horror Story that has a lot in common with the brilliant The Haunting of Bly Manor. Where that was a mashup of multiple books by Henry James, this time the monstrous mash is made from the works of Edgar Allen Poe.
What is The Fall of the House of Usher about?
The titular Usher is Roderick Usher, whose adult children have died and whose deaths have wiped out his entire family’s bloodline. Mooching about a spooky mansion, Usher tells his tale to Auguste Dupin – believed to be if not the first fictional detective ever then one of the very first. And it’s not a happy tale: it features a miserable childhood, a lot of creeps and many people for whom the best description is “dastardly” – almost all of whom meet increasingly sticky ends.
I love Rolling Stone’s description of it as a mix of “Poe’s greatest hits”, Succession and Dopesick. The cast is superb, the deaths are horribly, hilariously graphic and because it’s a Flanagan show you know you’re in for eight episodes of stuns, shocks, sharp writing and even sharper implements. As Empire puts it, it’s a “dark-hearted horror story that’s horribly good fun”.
The consensus is clear: if you’re looking for something horribly spooky to stream this Halloween, there ain’t no party like a The Fall of the House of Usher party.