Mike Flanagan has carved out a nice space for himself on Netflix with horror series, including The Midnight Club, The Haunting of Hill House and more. His next project has been in development for a couple of years, as he takes on Edgar Allan Poe with The Fall of the House Of Usher, and finally this one is set for release just in time for spooky season with an October 12 drop for Netflix subscription holders. Critics were able to screen the full series early, and they’re calling it an exquisite tribute to the macabre storyteller.
Fans of Mike Flanagan’s previous projects will see some familiar faces in The Fall of the House of Usher. Carla Gugino, T’Nia Miller, Henry Thomas, Samantha Sloyan, Rahul Kohli, Zach Gilford, Annabeth Gish and Kate Siegel are among those returning for the tale of the doomed Usher family. Critics have weighed in on the upcoming series, and CinemaBlend’s Nick Venable is calling it his new favorite horror series. He says:
In many ways, The Fall of the House of Usher feels as if it should have been under the Haunting banner, even though it does stand apart enough. But if you’re as big a fan of such creepy figures as the Bent Neck Lady and the Tall Man, the supernatural intensity of Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the dark and gory splatter of Midnight Mass, Midnight Club and Oculus, I feel comfortable saying there’s something in House of Usher that equals or tops any of those moments in past projects.
While some people criticized the slow burn of Midnight Mass, Mike Flanagan said The Fall of the House of Usher will be different, describing it as “aggressive and rock ‘n roll and over the top and just violent and insane and horrific.” Amy West of GamesRadar admits to missing a little of the emotional depth from previous series, but gives it 3.5 stars out of 5, saying that overall it's a fun, bloodsoaked watch. West writes:
After plunging his fist into our chests and metaphorically ripping out our hearts with his previous works, though, some might find The Fall of the House of Usher lacking in substance. It's a thrill ride, that's for sure, but it's not particularly moving or geared to make a lasting impression in the way Hill House or Midnight Mass were. It doesn't open up deep conversations about evangelism and existential matters, or make you cling on to your loved ones a little tighter.
Linda Codega of Gizmodo calls the series “exquisite,” noting that it’s not just an adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, but a “masterful retelling” of his entire collection. Codega continues:
It’s obsessive, ritualistic, it’s mean, it will cut your heart out and replace it with a new, better heart. A modern heart, with mesh and microchips and a pump that will make sure your heart never, ever, ever stops beating. The Fall of the House of Usher is a triumphant adaptation of Poe’s works, creating an exquisite corpse out of the corpus of horror that we know and love, but now made into a timely, biting satire of legacy, immortality, and all the themes that Poe, and Flanagan, do best.
Fans of Edgar Allan Poe will recognize nonstop references to his work; however knowledge of the gothic poet is certainly not a prerequisite, according to Therese Lacson of Collider, who gives the series a B+ and says:
References to Poe's writing are folded into every aspect of the series. The pharmaceutical company is named Fortunato, there are nods to The Masque of the Red Death and ‘Annabel Lee’ as well as constant raven imagery — there's even a character named Lenore (Kyleigh Curran). But the story itself feels cohesive, despite bringing in elements from all of Poe's works. For those who are Poe aficionados, there's a wealth of references and callbacks to point out — the series is a treasure trove of the writer's stories. For more casual viewers, there's never a sense of the show winking at the audience as if to point out references you might not understand at first glance.
Belen Edwards of Mashable calls The Fall of the House of Usher part horrifying family tale, part brilliant adaptation, as Mike Flanagan and his cast draw you into a scary story that you simply can’t tear yourself away from. The critic continues:
In classic Flanagan fashion, The Fall of the House of Usher is a scare-filled ride into the deepest pits of existential dread. Here, gore-slathered ghosts lurk hand-in-hand with questions of legacy and mortality. Poe-style horror interrogates the skewed systems of power placing our world in a chokehold. And at the center of it all is the devastating spectacle of a family eating itself alive.
This sounds like a great option as Halloween approaches, especially for those who are fans of Mike Flanagan’s previous projects. You won’t have to wait too much longer to binge the horror series either, with The Fall of the House of Usher coming to Netflix on Thursday, October 12. In the meantime check out what else is new and coming soon to Netflix, as well as all of the upcoming horror movies headed our way.