The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix)
Mike Flanagan needs no introduction, to me at least. The mind behind The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, as well as the much lauded Midnight Mass veers away from his traditional gothic horror, with this admittedly loose adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story of this rather unfortunate family. Who'd be an Usher, right?
Few Netflix releases push my buttons like the work of Flanagan and this often delicious eight-part season both promises and delivers his now familiar form of mental helter-skelter, introducing characters with accomplished arcs for just long enough to become invested in before dispensing with them with devilish innovation.
Many of his trusted cast from previous incarnations are back, not least Katie Siegel, Henry Thomas, Rahul Kohli, T'Nia Miller and inarguable star-turn Carla Gugino. Joined by a new batch (yes, including a great turn from Mark Hamill as family lawyer Pym) to complete this deadly dysfunctional family, Flanagan has again cast his imagination with aplomb, making every episode a riveting, edge-of-the-seat experience.
Carla Gugino is brilliant and stunning and scary and sexy all at once. The script is incredible, the direction on point, production design beautiful and the whole thing reeks of horrific unhurried storytelling, with flawed yet rounded characters and tantalising relationships. I watched all eight episodes in one sitting, having just finished as I literally didn't want to switch it off. This is how you do it.