The Fall of the House of Usher Review: Mike Flanagan Remixes Edgar Allan Poe with Excellent Results | That Shelf

The Fall of the House of Usher

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most influential and vital voices in horror, penning some of the most influential works of the genre in his short 40 years of life. His work drips with emotionality, love, loss, regret, fear, and longing. He helped establish the damp, decaying tone and mood that we now understand as gothic horror.

Mike Flanagan is one of the best horror filmmakers working today. This seems like a bold claim, but after The Haunting of Hill HouseMidnight Mass, and Doctor Sleep, it’s hard to see how someone could argue otherwise. There’s a prominent influence in his work from Poe, as well; whether it’s the titular abode in Hill House or the doomed romance of The Haunting of Bly Manor, there are throughlines too definite to ignore.

It makes sense, then, that  the latter would adapt the work of the former. The Fall of the House of Usher is that adaptation, but it’s much more ambitious than it seems at first blush. Not content to adapt one story, Flanagan has adapted seemingly all of the classic poets’ work and remixed it into something that is both recognizably Poe and very distinctly his own. The 8-episode series takes its name from one of Poe’s most famous stories, but it is merely a jumping-off point for something more expansive. 


This piece/episode was produced during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the films being discussed here wouldn’t exist.