‘The Woman in the House’ takes a stab at murder mystery genre

Samantha Sollitto

Netflix’s new series, “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window,” which should be nominated for longest title ever, satirically comments on every murder mystery film . Produced by Danielle Weinstock and starring Kristen Bell, the show’s protagonist, Anna, is a mother who is spiraling after the loss of her child and, as a result, her divorce from her husband.

If it not evident from the title alone, the show is not designed as a serious series. Inspired by films like “The Woman in the Window” and “The Girl on the Train,” this eight-episode thriller follows Anna, an addict, in recovery who witnesses a brutal murder in the house across the street. With absolutely no one believing her due to her alcoholism and drug problem, she slowly goes insane as she faces the daunting reality of being alone.

In retrospect, while watching the show, it is not obvious that the main goal is to make fun of the beloved murder mystery genre. Bell delivers a stellar performance, and the digs are subtle and easy to miss, which makes it hard to believe that the show is actually a parody. This may be one reason the series is receiving poor reviews from critics.

Another reason for criticism is the subpar and over dramatic acting, aside from Bell.

The comedic aspect of it is not overbearing and the acting, although seemingly bad, works well with the overall tone of the show. Tom Riley, who plays Neil, told Screen Rant that this “bad acting” felt almost “alien” to them, especially since actors work so hard to make people believe what they’re portraying is real.

Yet, without the acting issues and plot twists, there is still the most outlandish killer possible —someone who was almost impossible to be suspected even when watching the show under a microscope.

Creating a mystery with a murderer who is virtually nonexistent throughout the show makes it unenjoyable for those who enjoy solving the murder before the big reveal.

Co-creators Rachel Ramras, Hugh Davidson and Larry Dorf do an excellent job balancing the satirical and serious parts of the show — often a rather difficult accomplishment to achieve. The ability to evoke a range of emotions when working with a genre like comedy is a triumph in itself.

Davidson told Collider that while the show was primarily written with humor, the final product was something much deeper and unique than a parody.

At the show’s conclusion, viewers are left with more questions than answers; often a defining characteristic of mystery films. While it is unclear whether the show will renewed for a second season, the ending creates a perfect segue for a new murder mystery for Anna to solve.

Once one overcomes the tongue twister of a title, “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window” is definitely worth the watch.