TV

The Fall of the House of Usher Has Precisely One Good Monologue


Mike Flanagan’s monologue fascination turns up a banger in The Fall of the House of Usher.

The Fall of the House of Usher. (L to R) Carl Lumbly as C. Auguste Dupin, Bruce Greenwood as Roderick Usher in episode 101 of The Fall of the House of Usher.
Photo: Eike Schroter | Netflix

Acclaimed horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan wears his influences on his sleeve. Based on his prolific output of TV shows and films, Flanagan clearly loves: Stephen King (having directed Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep, and the upcoming The Life of Chuck for Prime Video), classic horror literature (including the works of Shirley Jackson, Henry James, and Edgar Allan Poe), and most touchingly, his wife Kate Siegel (who has appeared in nearly every Flanagan project thus far).

Real Flana-heads know, however, that there’s one other thing the writer-director can’t get enough of: monologues. Oh, the monologues! Flanagan’s suite of Netflix series, including The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, and most recently The Fall of the House of Usher have all been shockingly chatty endeavors. Though the horror maestro excels at conjuring dread with his camera work alone, Flanagan can’t seem to help himself from crafting bespoke, discursive diatribes around all the creepiness.

On the one hand, this is quite charming as Flanagan clearly loves watching his recurring crew of talented actors work at their craft. Also, many of the monologues are educational, flexing the writer’s arcane knowledge surely gleaned from many Wikipedia deep dives. On the other hand though…people just don’t talk like that, Mike! Witness this scene from Midnight Mass, in which Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) responds to the news that vampires might exist with a deeply personal recollection about 9/11 for five minutes.

Guys, focus. The vampires!

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