Mike Flannagan’s latest scary tale, The Fall of the House of Usher takes inspiration from the master of the macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe. Loosely based on Poe’s namesake short story, the eight-episode series chronicles the terrifying and downright bizarre tale of a corrupt CEO’s final reckoning. The star-studded miniseries marks Flannagan’s final Netflix outing before moving to Prime Video.
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Where can you watch The Fall of the House of Usher in the UAE?
The Fall of the House of Usher is now streaming on Netflix in the UAE. If you don’t have one, you can create a Netflix account to watch this series and other shows on Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix does not offer any free trials in Dubai and the UAE, so you’ll have to subscribe for at least one month.
The series starts like any good horror show should – with a funeral. Pharmaceutical billionaire Roderick Usher (played by Bruce Greenwood in the present and by Zach Gilford as a young man in the 80s) is attending the funeral service for his three eldest children, insecure first-born Frederick (Henry Thomas), wellness entrepreneur Tamerlane (Samantha Sloyan), and surgeon Victorine (T’Nia Miller).
Aside from his twin sister and company COO, Madeline (played by Mary McDonnell and by Willa Fitzgerald as a young woman), his young wife Juno (Ruth Codd), his grandaughter Lenore (Kyliegh Curran), and the family’s lawyer/fixer Arthur Pym (Mark Hamill), not many people are there to support Roderick. During the funeral, the ageing patriarch keeps seeing terrifying figures, and after collapsing next to his car at the end, he simply notes “It’s time.”
The previous week, Roderick buried his younger three, PR genius Camille L’Espanaye (Kate Siegel), video game developer Leo (Rahul Kohli), and socialite Prospero (Sauriyan Sapkota). After losing all six of his children in two weeks, Roderick invites his long-term rival, the state’s attorney Auguste Dupin (played in the present by Carl Lumbly and by Malcolm Goodwin as a young man), to hear his final confession.
Roderick tells the story of how each of his progeny met an untimely demise and how he and his sister got to run the corrupt pharmaceutical company responsible for the opioid crisis. It all started when the siblings came across a mysterious woman named Verna (Carla Gugino) in a bar in the 1980s.
Each episode’s name and all the characters have their equivalent Edgar Allan Poe short story or poem. While the show is set in contemporary times, it also follows the source material to the point where The Fall of The House of Usher can be interpreted as a love letter to the Gothic writer.
A modern Gothic horror
The show is well-paced, brutal, and terrifying. It’s also touching in parts and offers enough of an analysis of each character that by the time they take their final (gruesome) bow, their arc feels complete. On the surface, there’s little sympathy to be had for a family of reprehensible billionaires being killed off one by one. But Flannagan has a way of showing viewers his character’s humanity intertwined with their darker side.
While all the performances are excellent, and most of the actors are well-versed Flannagan alumni, the show’s standout star is Gugino as the supernatural Verna (yes, it’s an anagram of Raven). She brings finesse to a character whose true motives and nature remain a mystery for most of the series.
There’s no denying Mike Flannagan is a modern-day master of the macabre. And this latest series may just be his best work since A Haunting of Hill House gave me nightmares for weeks. It’s a gripping series with an underlying mystery so well-written that it’s almost impossible to stop watching until the end of episode eight.
What are other critics saying about The Fall of the House of Usher?
Austin Burke was impressed with the show’s atmosphere, characters, and storytelling.
Movies And Munchies found the series captivating but criticized some of the repetitiveness of the show.
Unleash The Ghouls thought this series was Mike Flannagan’s strongest work to date.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.