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TV REVIEW: The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window ★★☆☆☆

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This psychological thriller parody missed the mark altogether and showed us why there’s no market for this particular genre. 

As a massive Kristen Bell fan, I was delighted to hear about her new Netflix series titled ‘The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window’ debuting on January 28. The series puts a spin on previous psychological thrillers ‘Woman in the Window’ and ‘Girl on the Train’. Unfortunately for me, it was a severe letdown.

The satirical parody series centres on artist Anna (Bell), a grief-stricken and anxious woman who lives isolated in a large suburban house after her daughter’s death and a divorce from her husband. She spends her days staring out the window and mixing bottles upon bottles of wine with a combination of pills. As the show advances, we watch as Anna witnesses a murder in the house across the street; however, no one believes her due to the cocktail of alcohol and pills she consumed that night. This, in turn, leads her to question her memories and state of mind. 

Anxious Anna (Kristen Bell) Credit: @kristenbell on twitter

The first clue to this series being satire is the dreadfully long title; it feels like someone was trying to hit the word count on an essay and may be the funniest thing about the series. According to an interview with Kristen Bell in TODAY, Netflix wanted to shorten the name to ‘The Woman In the House’, but Bell insisted they keep the original title. She expressed, ‘I said, ‘no way’ because, here’s a little tip of the hat.

“This show is definitely, it’s a satirical psychological drama, it’s based on all of these psychological novels that were written for women, by women. The formula’s always the same. She drinks too much. She might be mixing it with pills. She thinks she sees a murder. No one believes her. There’s so much formula to it that we thought it was about time that somebody poked fun at it.

“So, we’re hoping that the title will tip you to the fact we are making fun of the genre the entire time.”

Although the cast delivered a spirited performance (and made the whole thing watchable), the writing was bizarre and the comedy dry, with few jokes landing how they were intended. As someone who went into the series blind, I couldn’t even tell it was satire until a few episodes in. It plays with overused tropes to the point of being unfunny. The series seemed to drag on and may have been better as a movie. 

Scoring 52 per cent on rotten tomatoes, ‘The Woman In the House…’ has critics and viewers divided and for me, Netflix’s ‘Dead to Me’ was a better example of mixing thriller and comedy genres.

Feature image credit: Netflix

4th Year Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling.
Writer, Journalist and movie buff, with a passion for understanding and encouraging representation and diversity.

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