The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is not a straight up satire, despite being very funny at times. Instead, Netflix’s latest parodical thriller walks a very fine tightrope that’s going to make this a love/hate affair for some people. In essence, the show plays out as a straight up murder mystery whodunit, with sprinklings of humour and a few subtle long-running gags throughout.
The result is a decent series that certainly has some stand-out moments (including some wonderfully worked twists) but also sags a little too much in the middle as it lovingly embraces all the clichés of the genre.
It’s clear from the very first episode that the writers and creators of this show know thrillers inside and out. All the usual hallmarks are present, including the whimsical narration, the red herrings, aforementioned twists and the numerous nods to other thrillers.
From the very obvious Rear Window through to more subtle nods, hidden on the spine of books or gravestone markings, there’s a lot of fun to be had spotting how many of these influences have made their way into this show.
The story itself centers on Anna. Heartbroken following a tragedy in her past and without her ex partner Douglas to rely on, she finds herself struggling to find purpose in her life.
When a handsome stranger called Neil moves in across the street with his daughter Emma, everything changes. When Anna believes she’s witnessed a gruesome murder, Anna’s beliefs are put to the ultimate test as she’s left reeling and left to investigate what happened. But was there really a murder? Or is she just hallucinating?
In the interest of spoilers I won’t divulge any of them here, and Netflix have kindly submitted a pretty long list of things critics can’t talk about. And that’s just as well, to be honest. The best way to experience this series is to go in completely blind and just let the plot take you through its unique blend of silly gags and surprisingly gripping elements.
This mixture is something that doesn’t always work as effectively as it could. Episodes 4-6 for example, tend to drag on and there aren’t that many laugh out loud moments. Episode 4 is a particular culprit, playing out as a straightforward investigation, with one humorous segment involving a lighthouse thrown in.
However, sandwiched around that are some excellent episodes with brilliant gags that fire on all cylinders. There’s no physical humour or slapstick gags here though, unless you count the early drama involving a smashed casserole. Instead, the comedy mostly revolves around silly wordplay, puns, quips, straight up parodies or absurdist humour. And it works!
Of course comedy is subjective and there will be some people put off by the way this show plays its story so straight. After such a strong opening episode, the rest of the series dials down the humour and ramps up the mystery instead.
If there’s one criticism I have here it comes from the story itself. The twists and turns are brilliant but this really could have done with a tighter 6 episode run-time to keep the comedy flowing through every episode as strongly as it does at the start and end.
Despite its flaws though, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window is great fun. This is a series that knows the genre its parodying very, very well and that’s evident from the opening gag to the shocking twist at the end.
Every part of this show has been crafted as a loving nod toward psychological thrillers of old, with enough laughs, smashed casserole dishes and suspicious characters to keep you watching until the end.
The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window releases on Netflix Friday 28th January worldwide!
Verdict - 7.5/10