THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is frightening, unsettling, startling, and entertaining – which is good, because they happen to be the perfect ingredients for a great horror story.
The Haunting of Hill House is a reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name. The story is about the Crain family – Liv (Carla Gugino), Hugh (Henry Thomas and Timothy Hutton), Steve (Michiel Huisman and Paxton Singleton), Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson), Theodora (Kate Siegel and McKenna Grace), Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Julian Hilliard), and Nellie (Victoria Pedretti and Violet McGraw) – and their experiences with Hill House, an ominous building once home to a crazy family. The story covers the time the family spends in Hill House and the present day, and it is a slow reveal of what Hill House contains.
The acting is solid throughout and, at times, it reaches impressive heights. In all episodes, there are scenes where a character (not always a main one) gives a dark and passionate account while the camera zooms slowly in on them. This is where the acting is truly powerful. It results in great storytelling.
Aesthetically, even the horror is beautiful. The dark shades in scenes mingled at times with stabs of light creates a tremendous gothic effect. All the statues in the house, nothing more than detail, always confuse the watcher’s mind into questioning whether or not they are really statues or something more.
The most important thing in this ten-part series is the relationship between each family member. It quickly becomes apparent that each relationship is deeply complex and extremely fragile. It is also good how each problem within the Crain family is linked back to Hill House. In fact, it could be argued that Hill House is a family member, so embedded it is within each Crain.
But the finest thing The Haunting of Hill House does is the scares. My god, the scares! You will most certainly have your hands over your eyes or your heads tucked under the duvet. The scares never relinquish, and some of the finest ones happen when you least expect it.
You will most likely zip through this series. Each episode presents new questions and only reveals slight answers. You will be so desperate to see what happens next episode that you will have no choice but to continue on straight away.
The Haunting of Hill House is definitely a must-see. The story is weaved with such complexity that you may want to watch it again, to marvel at how well the story is edited. Perhaps watch it in the dark, too, if you dare.
- Watched on Netflix.