The Fall of the House of Usher dismantling its titular family one by one—sometimes literally, using Poe’s most famous method.
Photo: Netflix/EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX
It’s rare for Mike Flanagan to deny his characters empathy, and even rarer for the horror director to take pleasure in their pain. But in the typical density and moodiness—and uncharacteristically scary and angry— The Fall of the House of Usher, Flanagan invites us to do both.Gone is the comfort provided to hurting family members and loved ones. Hill House is Haunted and The Haunting of Bly Manor; the belief in unity and compassion has disappeared midnight mass and midnight club. in their place, The Fall of the House of Usher Contempt the rich, disgusted with their selfishness, and delighted in their increasingly cruel deaths, and that unexpected Flanagan feast is just delicious.
The eight-episode miniseries, out today, is Flanagan’s final project for Netflix and the end of a five-year partnership that helped the streaming service monopolize a specific genre of horror project. Tonally, Flanagan’s Netflix series is primarily dark, melancholy, and introspective. Visually, they are well designed and immersively shot. Inspired by the written works of Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Christopher Pike, and Edgar Allan Poe, they reflect literary structure: lengthy arcs unfolding within dense world-building, with a strong focus on connecting the audience with the central character. The experience remains consistent, almost meta-reliant on the series’ storytelling. These episodes are meant to be addictive, with each hour of trauma, pain, and growth purposefully flowing into the next. Sure, there are jump scares, ghosts, monsters and vampires, but Flanagan’s horror ethos isn’t about scaring audiences, but rather using the genre as a means of self-exploration, finding the wounded parts of ourselves and then exploring ways to heal them .
and receptionistHowever, Flanagan offers punishment rather than grace.There are elements here from his previous series – a dysfunctional central family, returning actors, the incorporation of literary elements – as well as nods to other Eat Rich series such as succession (Father/child dynamic, heavy string score by Tyler Stewart). But the tone is intense, the violence jarring, and unlike in Jesse Armstrong’s picture, none of the characters here are given the baby girl or “I can fix them” treatment. The play uses Poe’s language and aesthetics to construct a story drawn from 21st-century headlines, replacing the Sackler family with ridiculously wealthy, amoral ushers. The titular family is led by twin geniuses Roderick (Bruce Greenwood, an excellent replacement for the fired Frank Langella from the original cast) and Madeline (Mary McDonough), who jointly manage their The company Fortunato. Their painkiller Ligodone made them and Rodrick’s six children billionaires, and the ushers escaped prosecution despite sparking a widely damaging opioid epidemic. Assistant U.S. Attorney C. August Dupin (Carl Rubley) hopes his case, bolstered by an informant inside the family, will eventually lead to the Usher being jailed. But when Roderick and Madeleine put a $50 million reward on their hands for the capture of their collaborators, Roderick’s children start dying and the siblings’ decades-long control begins to slip.
The premiere, “Midnight Dull,” features flashbacks (centered on 20-something versions of Roderick and Madeleine, brilliantly played by Zach Gilford and Willa Fitzgerald), flashforwards, A mess of fake news clips, filled with Poe lines, and interviews between Roderick and Dupin; this is a demanding episode that clearly demonstrates the breadth and scope of the problem receptionistintention, and the extent to which it keeps viewers alert to changing perspectives and timelines. Each subsequent episode loosely ties a member of the Arthur family to a specific work of Poe’s, tearing apart their vanity, cruelty, and disregard for others—sometimes literally , using the writer’s most famous method. (The show’s grotesque imagery evokes the maximalist styles of Dario Argento, M. Night Shyamalan, and Matt Reeves; There are no blink-and-you’ll-miss-them ghosts here.) The execution feels silly and even contrived at times, with characters starting to recite snippets of Poe poetry during everyday conversations and reanimated corpses dripping goo onto a conference room table superior. It all meshes well with the series’ midnight-noir sense of humor, though, and those jagged edges are perfect for a story that’s so sharp and has so many enemies to point out.
Usher’s kids are badass, clearly shaped by their wealth and power, and the characters—completely unburdened with integrity and inner reflection and completely unlike Flanagan’s previous projects—make the film The cast of the human cycle is looser than ever. . The eldest son Frederick (Henry Thomas) was raised as Roderick’s heir, but he is extremely insecure. The eldest daughter Tamerlane (Samantha Sloyan) is an admirer of Gwyneth Paltrow and has her own health app; Victorine (T’Nia Miller) is a self-righteous doctor, whose cardiovascular research was funded entirely by Roderick. Camille (Kate Siegel) is Fortunato’s sharp-tongued, cynical public relations executive who has surveillance files on all of her relatives. The idle Napoleon (Rahul Kohli) is the face of the family’s philanthropy. The youngest, Prospero (Sauriyan Sapkota), is a hedonistic black sheep who resents his father and aunt’s insistence on etiquette. One of the most riveting elements of the show is watching these actors react with cold enthusiasm to every embarrassing thing the ushers do in their extravagant cocoons of wealth: sibling sniping and infighting, hyperactive Cocaine snorting and dehumanizing sex scenes, self-righteous dialogue like “Being an Usher is about changing the fucking world, this isn’t a blowjob whiskey bar.”
It might all have seemed a little too smug were it not for the cast’s willingly enthusiastic performances, and the balance provided by Carla Gugino as a mysterious figure from Roderick and Madeleine’s past and Mark Hamill as their lawyer. Both are excellent, the former as a whirling dervish in chaos and the latter as a taut fixer, and their scene in the finale “The Crow” is a gorgeous balance of sparse cinematography and wistful emotion that stands apart from the rest of the series’ madness. The rhythms are in stark contrast. But while this rhythm may lead to a momentary disconnect from speaking out, receptionist You’re never given time to doubt it, oscillating between contempt and allegory as it casts a highly theatrical spell: from the ominous sound design to the Egyptology-obsessed set decoration, every choice is meant to The rarity and inhumanity of family. What are the corrosive effects of ruthless ambition and unchallenged success, what self-affirming blindness can they create? Why This Amoral Achievement Is a Uniquely American Story—Poe, as American as he was, was a failed military man who traveled through the country’s greatest industrial cities, shaping Romantic and Gothic styles that emphasized emotion and atmosphere. style tradition, struggled to make a living despite its influence, and then mysteriously died at the age of 40?
receptionist Some of these questions are answered far more satisfactorily than others; its arguments against unrestrained affluence and corporate monopoly are clearer than its interpretation of Poe, whom it rather treats as a ghost , and do not want to analyze it as a person. While this level of social commentary may feel new to Flanagan, it’s not far removed from the way he’s criticized the misuse of religion as a divisive force. Hill House and midnight mass.but receptionist Being rooted in this particular post-Sackler moment in American history gives this critique a different tone, making it as urgent as the anger that flows through murder and dialogue that mocks Big Tech , artificial intelligence in art, billionaires trying to live forever, and politicians like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.There’s a dazzling fuck quality to it receptionistIt’s a vicious barb that gives the impression that Flanagan’s attitude changed dramatically when he quit Netflix.His work so far has prioritized the meaning of the things that scare us rather than the act of fearing, but receptionist It turns out he’s not indifferent out of fear or uninterested in gore – he’s just picky about his victims.
Apart from midnight clubFlanagan’s TV work for Netflix was originally a multi-season series that ended on a cliffhanger due to early cancellation, but it always ended with a touching ending. The Crane family forgave each other and themselves. Hill House; Trapped souls are released and romance stands the test of time Bly Manor; The inhabitants of Crockett Island reconciled with their god and sacrificed themselves midnight mass.but like painkillerAnother recent Netflix series about the ills of the Sackler family, receptionist explicitly refusing to grant any form of peace to its most important figures. Instead, the catharsis the show offers viewers is through satire, bringing disaster upon those who seem untouchable and entirely deserving. This time mercy only goes in one direction.and receptionist, Flanagan has loudly closed the door on his Netflix era, but left behind a storytelling heart that beats as irrepressibly for humanity as for horror.