On podcasts, on the bus to class, and even in the Pit at Durham College, students cannot stop talking about The Haunting on Hill House.
Netflix released The Haunting on Hill House on Oct. 12, 2018. The show is an adaptation of a 1959 book of the same title, written by Shirley Jackson, a famous horror and mystery author.
The series fits well in the horror genre, more specifically, it fits with 2018’s recent on-screen fad of ‘family-based horror’ movies, alongside films like Hereditary and Insidious: The Last Key, which could be argued as a ‘family-based horror’.
Director Mike Flanagan created a post haunted house tragedy. The show captures the life of the Crain kids during a time of grief.
From the start of episode one, Steven Sees a Ghost, you feel like you’re being watched. The first few seconds of the episode, the camera pans down the main staircase and, if you look carefully at the railing attached to the stairs, you will see something staring at you.
Even before you meet the mental institution ad campaign of a family, you have already experienced the feeling of something being off in the house. It is just plain creepy.
The family consists of five children played by Michiel Huisman (Steve Crain), Kate Seigal (Theo Crain), Elizabeth Reaser (Shirley Crain), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain), and Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crain).
The five children represent the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. This will start to make sense by episode three.
The family moves into Hill House for the summer.
Carla Gugino plays the mother. Timothy Hutton plays the present-day father and Henry Thomas (Elliot from E.T.) plays the father from flashbacks.
The show progresses slowly. It is easy to get distracted in the first two episodes, but it’s worth trooping through.
One of the more notable hauntings is The Bent-Neck Lady, who haunts Nell Crain, the youngest child. The apparition becomes more than just a haunting.
Like Steven Crain says in the first episode, “A ghost can be a lot of things. A memory, a daydream, a secret, grief, anger, guilt. But in my experience, most times they’re what we want to see.”
The use of corners in the show is the story’s best friend. The Crain children, who have moved on in life, no longer live near the Hill House, but in the show as they turn corners they are flashed back to the house as children 26 years prior.
The show twists, it turns, it goes up then barrels straight down.
The Haunting on Hill House is the perfect blend of scary and story, it’s in your face, but also in your mind. It plays games with your head just like the house played games with the family.
While watching the show, watch the background.
There are 10 episodes averaging around 51 minutes and 29 confirmed ghost spottings start from the first minute of episode one.