If we look beyond the tediously named title of the eight-episode series, Netflix’s newest spoof psychological thriller, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, is a wannabe parody of The Woman in the Window and The Girl on Train. However, the insanely terrible jokes, somewhat misguided scripting and cheesy performances from all, except the lead actress Kristen Bell, fail the thriller series’s true essence. Or perhaps, it reiterates why this genre should never be parodied.
Filling in the role of Amy Adams or Emily Blunt, Bell is an ombrophobic painter named Anna who is terrified of heavy rain. She stays at home, guzzles down pills with gallons of wine, yet manages to look fresh and sober every single morning. She dresses up in robes to drop off her daughter at school, but all is not as it seems. Her daughter died three years ago in a horrifying incident and caused her marriage to fall apart and her career as a painter to be on a hiatus as well.
Anna is scared by the weird sounds in the attic and often hallucinates seeing her daughter around her. She is emotionally unstable and often has flashbacks that make her drop a very unappetizing casserole on the floor. She talks about her “overactive imagination”, her changing personality and her penchant for adopting accents. While Bell tries to deliver the lines using deadpan humour, nothing seems to work in the show’s favour, especially the flat dialogues that comprise extremely hollow and dubious metaphors — especially casseroles.
Anna bails on her date to spy on her handsome neighbour, who is supposedly a single father. When she manages to befriend them, she learns how his wife passed away in a “tragic accident” before envisioning herself to be a part of the family. Death plays a vital role throughout the thriller as Anna supposedly goes down a rabbit hole of murderous intent, becoming a suspect at one point. She is obsessed with the idea of solving a supposed murder, probably to kill time and to avenge her daughter by helping another victim get justice.
Despite her wine-fuelled escapades and seemingly amusing antics, the narrative does not hold strong the idea of dark comedy or absurdism while trying to juggle the burden of being a spoof. If you thought that Joe Wright’s Netflix production The Woman in the Window was bad, you would probably fail to sit through the eight episodes of the series. A little convoluted and pretty drag, the series would have performed better if creator Michael Lehmann decided to stick to the genre of psychological thrillers and not try to parody it.
Even a cameo from Glenn Close cannot save the series from being the potential disaster that it is!