Ever since Mike Flanagan signed a multi-year deal with Netflix back in 2019, we have been treated with a new original high quality horror series each year without fail. This started with The Haunting of Hill House and the successful collaboration with Netflix ends with this year’s offering The Fall of the House of Usher. But as the saying goes, every cloud there is a silver lining, as we can expect to savour more from the minds of Mike Flanagan as he enters a new multi-year contract with Amazon Studios. Well, Netflix should be grateful for the offerings they got from their contract and Mike Flanagan does not disappoint even with this final series for Netflix.
The Fall of the House of Usher is based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, an American writer and poet who is best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. The first episode was admittedly a bit rough going as it felt a bit disjointed and confusing with its multiple characters and flashbacks. It introduces us to the super wealthy Usher family and begins with a funeral service for 6 of its members! However, thankfully, this did not become an issue by the end of the second episode. The series actually gets better and better with each episode as we realise we are experiencing another Mike Flanagan extravaganza. In between the unravelling of the plot over its multiple timelines, each episode is juiced up with the anticipation of watching each of the Usher siblings meet their gruesome deaths. All the characters of the Usher family are depicted as vile, thoroughly unpleasant people, and a comparison to the Roy family in HBO’s Succession is inevitable. But Succession did not give us the satisfaction of seeing of its loathsome family members meet with the horrible deaths that they all deserved.
The Fall of the House of Usher is not just about the creative gore offered. Like any good Mike Flanagan series, it is supported by a strong storyline and performances. It is a delight to watch many of the cast members from Flanagan’s earlier series return playing different roles. Everybody stepped up to the challenge. Top marks goes to Carla Gugino who plays a sort of dark angel that knows all and sees all. Also always great to see Henry Thomas who first started his acting career as E.T’s best friend way back in 1982. Best of all was to see Star War’s Mark Hamill in a juicy supporting role that allows him to showcase his acting chops without hiding behind the security of a swinging light saber and the force.
My personal favourite from Mike’s Netflix series is Midnight Mass. This comes in as my second favorite of the lot. Let’s hope we don’t need to wait too long for his work with Amazon Studios.