Every couple of months it seems like Netflix bring out a new series that takes the world by storm. And this is exactly what has happened with their newest horror series “The Haunting of Hill House”. This isn’t the first time Shirley Jackson’s famous novel has been adapted, but it is arguably the best one yet. Director Mike Flanagan tells a story that its full of spooks, heart and emotion that not only gets you on the side of the protagonists, but also makes you empathise with the ghosts that haunt the Crain family.
What are you in for?
The ten episode series tells the story of the Crain children now in adulthood who are haunted by the events that occurred in Hill House as children. As the series goes on, each episode becomes more intense when the Crain children are brought back together after a tragedy. When they are reunited, we watch each of their stories and how the ghosts of Hill House have left their mark on each of them.
However, it seems that as time went on, the family has drifted. The eldest, Steven, a writer who has made a living off a book about their experiences as children in the house has a broken relationship with his siblings. His sister Elizabeth, a mortician, has grown to resent him as Steven claims never to have actually seen anything in the house and blames it on metal illness they inherited from their mother, yet writes about it in his book. Elizabeth lives with her sister, Theo who is a psychologist but also possesses a unique power that the other seem to be in denial about. And there are the twins, Kevin, a recovering heroin addict. And Ellie, a newlywed who is drawn back to the house and kicks the series into gear from the get go.
“Hill House has no shortage of jump scares, but by no means relies on them.”
The success Shirley Jackson’s most successful novel speaks for itself, but Flanagans dialogue, cinematography and acting gives us a horror series we haven’t had in awhile, or ever. Over the past few years we have had The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Stranger Things. All decent horrors series in their own right, but not edge of your seat, nail biting, hair raising horror. We only ever seem to get this on the big screen. And even then, most horrors these days rely on cheap jump scares. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good jump scare. It makes horrors enjoyable and usually breaks the tension. And Hill House has no shortage of jump scares, but it by no means relies on them.
“This is where the real genius of Flanagan’s horror comes from. Not every ghost has to make you scream.”
Throughout the series we see ghosts and faces in the background and in corners of the room that are often missed. But when you do see these faces in situations when you’re not supposed to be scared, they make your whole body clench up tighter than a ducks butt hole. Almost like adding enough salt to a dish that it doesn’t change it, but enough to know its there. This is where the real genius of Flanagan’s horror comes from. Not every ghost has to make you scream, just enough to send a chill down your spine. You can never seem to relax while watching Hill House as it keeps you glued to the screen.
Carla Gugino’s performance itself is amazing. Portraying the Crain children’s mother, Olivia Crain, Gugino shows us Olivia’s slow descent into madness as the ghosts take over her mind. This is the second time Gugino and Flanagan have worked together for a Netflix original the first being Stephen King’s adaption of Gerald’s Game, which we would also recommend. We expect both of them to pick up awards for Hill House and deservedly so. And hopefully this isn’t the last time we see Mike Flanagan team up with Gugino as they seem to have a flare for horror.
Between the horror, anxiety, emotion and beauty of this series, it is set to go down as a Netflix classic. We finally have a good horror series that scares you more and more every episode but you can’t stop watching. It is the perfect treat for the halloween season and we give it a solid 5/5.