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Review of The Fall of the House of Usher

Art by ElAbueloKraken on DeviantArt of the House of Usher.
Art by ElAbueloKraken on DeviantArt of the House of Usher.

Fall of the House of Usher is one of Netflix’s most recent horror series directed by Mike Flanagan. The series was released in October and is inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. The series frames the original short story of The House of Usher in a modern context and explores ideas of mortality, terror, emotional fragility, and some commentary on how power and wealth corrupt people. 

While predictable at times, the series is one of Flannagan’s best works. Brutal, uncomfortable yet intriguing with brilliant monologues, powerful performances, and unsettling visuals. The show demonstrates a phenomenal reimagining of the source material, that is in many ways faithful to the original version while still exciting for the audience. 

The series follows Roderick and Madeline Usher, two siblings who came from nothing but have forged a life of wealth and privilege through corrupt dealings in their pharmaceutical company, Fortunato. As ominous omens and visions of death plague Roderick in his current life, individuals in the Usher family begin to die off one by one, and as the family enters further panic and distress. Their detachment from humanity due to their wealth becomes prevalent and almost comedic in a dark and satirical manner. 

Many of the cast consists of actors already familiar with Flannagan who have worked in his projects prior to this and it shows. Their chemistry with one another, and how easily their acting ability flows with Flannagan’s direction creates a narrative that is both compelling and haunting. 

The performances that stuck with me the most throughout the series include Bruce Greenwood as Roderick Usher, Kate Siegel as Camille L’Espanaye, and T’Nia Miller as Victorine LaFourcade. The actors within the show deliver performances that masterfully display the moral bankruptcy of the Usher family and will leave the audiences shocked, disgusted, and feeling occasional hints of pity. 

Additionally, the VFX the show displays is truly remarkable, displaying frightening but almost entrancing visions of death. My primary example of the wonderful VFX displayed would be the aftermath of Prospero’s party once the sprinklers were turned on and instead of water raining down on the partygoers, corrosive chemicals showered the victims. The effects demonstrate a disgusting yet impressive display of digital art and create a scene of truly uncomfortable body horror.

The show has plenty more to offer but I implore readers of this article to explore the series themselves. The show of course is TV-MA and includes a plethora of violence, sexual themes, explicit language, and more so viewers should keep this in mind when viewing. The Fall of the House of Usher is a series I will not soon forget and overall, I deem it a darkly beautiful ode to the works of Edgar Allen Poe; a love letter to gothic horror.

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About the Contributor
Mae Somoza
Mae Somoza, Staff Writer
Mae Somoza is a senior at Lake Forest High School. Whether it is writing short stories for her family’s viewing, or running a D&D game for her close friends, Mae is dedicated to the art of storytelling. She is a part of the Pop Culture Club and an avid enthusiast of the theater’s productions and the band’s skillful performances. She looks forward to advancing her writing skills in her final year of high school. 
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