Mike Flanagan has made a name for himself in recent years bringing quality horror mysteries to Netflix with The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, and The Midnight Club all being big hits for the streaming service. To no surprise, The Fall of the House of Usher is another home run for Flanagan and Netflix.
The plot is set up very early on with members of the Usher family dead. It is up to the audience to determine the details of why (and more gruesomely, how) they died. I won’t get into spoilers as to how that’s paid off but it’s a rewarding and satisfying journey. Fans of slasher movies are no doubt going to love the care and attention given to many of the kills in this series. This certainly ranks up there in terms of being some of Netflix’s most gory and gruesome content.
A Cast Worth Slaying For In The Fall of the House of Usher
The cast in The Fall of the House of Usher is simply incredible. There are Flanagan’s recurring actors he brings onto most of his projects (Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, Katie Parker, Robert Longstreet, Samantha Sloyan, Carla Gugino, Annabeth Gish, Rahul Kohli, Michael Trucco, Zach Gilford, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Igby Rigney, T’Nia Miller, and Carl Lumbly).
Bruce Greenwood commands the screen, displaying both confidence and uncertainty all the same. You also have new actors for the showrunner to work with. The most noticeable is Mark Hamill who plays a role that will undoubtedly surprise you. It is vastly different it is from his other roles. Some of these actors play younger versions of the characters; and I was impressed by how everyone felt so similar despite being different actors entirely.
Taking The Simpler Path
Compared to some of Flanagan’s other projects, The Fall of the House of Usher feels a bit more predictable and in some ways simpler. There isn’t a laundry list of major reveals, nor did I ever feel like the plot was disjointed. As a viewer, you know how the plot will end up, but it’s the journey that proves far more entertaining. The show is about the fall of the Usher family; and literally, you see that play out on screen. However, it’s the visual poetry, the stylish reveals, and the pacing. They make this almost more akin to a slasher movie in the ways it’s paced and shown.
That’s not to say there are no reveals or twists; as there are, but nothing as unpredictable or earth-shattering as some of the reveals in Flanagan’s other shows. To that end, some people may find the simplicity in The Fall of the House of Usher to be not as engaging as other Flanagan shows. Although I enjoyed it, I did feel like the show could’ve used a few more twists and turns. Compared to Midnight Mass, which is for my money Flanagan’s best show. This one doesn’t feel as complex or insightful as that show. Still, I found it to be more entertaining than The Midnight Club. It’s certainly more accessible than The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.
The Fall of the House of Usher is Mike Flanagan’s last show under his deal with Netflix. It’s a great sendoff to a partnership that’s brought us so many amazing shows. Even if this show doesn’t get as complex as some of his other shows; it shows that Flanagan can also entertain on a more simpler level; while still maintaining a high level of quality on all fronts. Making for a show that while predictable, is also very entertaining.
The Fall of the House of Usher premieres globally on Netflix on October 12, 2023.