The Haunting of Hill House: the show you should be watching!
WARNING: This is not for the faint hearted, and believers of the paranormal may be haunted for some time!
Netflix have released the 10 episode supernatural horror series The Haunting of Hill House.
The series, adapted by Mike Flanagan from the novel (of the same name) by Shirley Jackson, follows a group of siblings who were once haunted during their time at Hill House. Though they’ve grown older, they’ve never recovered from the past.
The Haunting of Hill House, despite its many terrifying elements, is truly a story about repressed trauma.
The narrative is constructed in a unique way, fluctuating from the past to present in no particular order. The main characters are Steven, Luke, Nell, Shirley and Theodora Crane. We see them as innocent children, frequently plagued by supernatural ongoings within the walls of Hill House, each of them visited by different manifestations of ghosts.
After tragedy strikes, the Crane family flee their home in the early hours of the morning.
Flanagan gives the audience a reason to be hooked from the very start. We are never fully informed of the tragedy that occurred, creating a lingering enigma and hook to continue watching.
Flash forward to present day, the siblings have failed to distance themselves from a life of morbidity in their adulthood.
Steven, the eldest male in the family, has gone on to be a writer of the bestseller The Haunting of Hill House, a book which documents the horror he and his siblings experienced.
Nell, the youngest sibling, isn’t seen as doing anything with her time apart from ruminating on the trauma that happened to her as a child. She, of all the siblings, seems unable to move forward with her life. She is portrayed as mentally unstable, claiming that the “Bent Neck Lady” who haunted her childhood is still terrorising her.
Luke, the twin of Nell, has turned out no better, using heroin as a means of coping with his problems.
Shirley, the eldest female, has taken on the matriarchal role of the family. She works as a mortician and lives in a funeral home in which she runs with her husband.
Theodora has gone on to become a psychologist. While successful in her work, her childhood trauma has led her to become closed off, friendless and dismissive of any romantic interests for fear of closeness.
In the first five episodes we follow each of the siblings separately, coming to empathise with their characters and the past experiences that still bond them indelibly. The structure Flanagan constructs is masterful and the acting is incredible: both the child actors and adult actors win over our hearts, and we truly come to believe this narrative world and the characters in it.
The Haunting of Hill House is perfect for Halloween, giving suspenseful scares that leave your skin smothered in goosebumps. Flanagan’s camerawork is well done and carefully thought out: the camera panning around the corners of the house leaves us terrified about what may lurk ahead.
The jump cuts provide excellent scares that will leave you restless. The Hill House itself becomes the main character of the show, and this narrative world feels so real and powerful. This adaptation has a feel of The Addams Family, though less comedic and more macabre.
This series is addictive, impressive, dark, gruesome, witty and full of plot twists that will keep you up at night. It is the epitome of the horror genre and an instant classic.
You won’t be disappointed!