Mike Flanagan is one of the best writers in Hollywood right now. And to maintain my objectivity, I’ll admit right off the bat in this The Fall Of The House Of Usher review, that I am not one for horror. It’s a genre that I largely avoid, due to a combination of fear and being chicken. Which are also interchangeable depending on the day. So it’s not with bias that I praise Flanagan, but a testament to his talent. That he’s been able to get someone like me to engage with all his works thus far, which are all deeply rooted in the horror genre. And The Fall Of The House Of Usher is no different. It’s the season’s greatest horror series thus far, perfect for Halloween.
Please note that this The Fall Of The House Of Usher review will be completely spoiler-free.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher Is Succession Meets Final Destination
The story of Flanagan’s new series is quite simple, but its execution is insanely well done. The series sees the uber-rich family of the Ushers. A family made rich by the patriarch’s pharmaceutical business, built through mysterious methods. Starting with Roderick Usher (Bruce Greenwood), who has six kids from different mothers, the series introduces audiences to this eclectic bunch of the super-rich and their unique eccentricities. All using an ongoing trial against Roderick as the backdrop.
But when bodies start dropping, we start to learn more about this family, their kinks, obsessions and most importantly, the dark past that begat their ill-gotten riches. It’s a remarkably twisted story about characters who are the absolute worst of the worst, but you still can’t help but become invested in their stories. Their rise, their struggle and the eventual gruesome downfall they experience. The Fall Of The House Of Usher is definitely one of those series that will be binged in its debut weekend. It’s just that good!
The Fall Of The House Of Usher Review Keeps Things Spoiler-free
With The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Flanagan does something different. I wouldn’t even call this show a full-on horror or genre show, but it’s more of a drama with horror undertones. Which is what I loved about it. Walking with one foot in both genres makes the series very accessible to casual audiences who may be otherwise turned off, or are not into the horror genre. Flanagan writes around the usual horror elements in a brilliant way that keeps audiences guessing as to how things are unfolding until the very end. It’s a blend of a murder mystery, wrapped in a captivating drama with a horror vibe throughout.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher shows rich people doing horrible things and getting away with it, but it does it in a way that doesn’t hold anything back. While Succession had a similar element, its characters still had to play by the rules of society. There was a pretense of goodness, at the least. Whereas, characters in The House Of Usher are just an absolute rotten bunch of spoiled rich kids. And that would be the politest way to describe them.
A Character Drama Wrapped In A Murder-Mystery With Subtle Horror Vibes
The characters of The Fall Of The House Of Usher are really where the meat of the show resides. Every single actor here is doing their career-best performance. Greenwood as the main lead is absolutely breathtaking. The actor gets the most amazing moments and monologues that are masterclasses in acting. Greenwood upturns the entire tone of a scene with a single look or even a change in his breathing. It’s the most powerful I’ve ever seen the veteran actor.
Coming to the Usher Kids, who provide the most interesting element of the show, are a group of six terribly cold and soulless people ever in any kind of show. The stand-out performances here are from Kate Siegel who plays Camille, the middle daughter who has her own PR empire, spinning positive stories for her family, and deflecting the negative ones. Then there’s Victorine (T’Nia Miller) who is aspiring to save the world through cardiac technology but feels the pressure from her father, to go faster and deliver. Victorine has a great arc and one that ends in the most Edgar Allen Poe manner in the entire show.
Flanagan favourite Rahul Kohli plays Leo, the only one of the six with the most neutral or apathetic nature, while still actually caring about his family. Kohli is wonderful as a lay-about video game magnate who just sits around and engages in recreational debauchery. The entire cast is top-notch, but these are just the standout. I also can’t end this The Fall Of The House Of Usher review without mentioning my Friday Night Lights alum, Zach Gilford, who turns in an awesome performance. Along with Willa Fitzgerald in roles that I won’t mention, to prevent spoilers.
Final Recommendation For This Captivating New Show
Ultimately The Fall Of The House Of Usher will go down as yet another incredible Mike Flanagan series that adds to the horror genre in new and interesting ways. The series explores the privilege of the super-rich, and in many ways, also deals with the consequences of their actions. The themes and messages are subtle, but it’s clear to see their influence. While the Knives Out movies try to do something similar with comedy, it’s a much more effective theme here.
The show is also inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. While not a Poe expert myself, the broader influences will be recognizable by even casual audiences. And the way Flanagan adapts them for this story in the modern world is nothing short of genius.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher premieres on Netflix on October 12, 2023.
Let me know your thoughts on Flanagan and his new series in the comments below. Or follow me on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid to recommend other horror works a newbie like me should check out.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER Is The Best Take On Horrible Rich People Problems
- Acting - 10/1010/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9/109/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 9.5/109.5/10
- Setting/Theme - 8.5/108.5/10
- Watchability - 10/1010/10
- Rewatchability - 10/1010/10