Now, who doesn’t love psychological thrillers? How about psychological thrillers with a little bit of satire? Netflix’s original series “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” is exactly that. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to be.
The show’s protagonist Anna is played by the beautifully gifted Kristen Bell (“Do, Re & Mi”). After struggling with a divorce and the unexpected death of her daughter, Anna spends most of her time sitting in a chair drinking colossal amounts of wine while looking out her front window. But her interest is piqued when a hot new neighbor and single father, Neil (Tom Riley, “The Nevers”), and his daughter Emma (Samsara Leela Yett, “Don’t Look Up”) move in right across the street. After spending some one-on-one time with Neil, Anna truly thinks this connection is something. However, it quickly fizzles when Neil’s flight attendant girlfriend Lisa (Shelley Hennig, “Mythic Quest”) shows up at his house for a few days. Back to the window Anna goes until, in a jarring turn of events, she witnesses Lisa’s gruesome murder. Or does she?
The trailer frames the show as something serious and thrilling that plays within its mystery and suspense tropes. Yet, you can’t help but realize that the plot looks a bit out of place and is a tad bit cringey. But that’s for good reason: The show is a parody of both the Netflix thriller, “The Woman in the Window,” and the film “The Girl on the Train.” Unfortunately, it does a terrible job of doing so.
Granted, there are some funny moments that attempt to demonstrate its dark comedy, like Anna appearing to be so terrified of the rain touching her skin that she literally succumbs to it in the most dramatic way. Or, take the infinite amount of chicken casserole Anna makes every night, only for it to repeatedly burn her hands or be dropped and shattered, and then appear again the next night.
Regardless, the show struggles to figure out its genre. There’s no way to tell it is a parody unless you’re familiar with the films it ridicules, nor does it present itself as a comedy, and then ultimately loses itself in its assumed genre of dark tragedy. However, it does hook the audience, making it a binge-able show, but viewers are only clicking to the next episode to find out more about Anna’s character and what she witnessed.
Overlooking the failed attempt at portraying itself as a parody, the show gives a true insight into the process of grieving a loved one. It doesn’t hold back when representing what it means to heal yourself, and how hard that can be. Anna’s character is clearly struggling with not only the loss of her daughter but the pain of a divorce, which explains her off-the-wall personality. It truly establishes a sense of empathy for Anna’s character which gives this show a semblance of realism that some satirical psychological thrillers lack.
Overall, this show has no identity. It can be a parody, a dark comedy, a thriller — honestly, it is whatever you want it to be. But one thing is for sure: “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” is just as confusing as its title.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at email@example.com.