Horror Reviews Television Reviews

The Beauty and Gothic Horror of ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

Growing up in a haunted house has effected a family deeply. Though they’ve seemingly moved on in their own ways, they will be forced to face the haunting memories of their past as they’re called back to it. Based on a book of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House is Netflix’s newest original series, and it will undoubtedly scare the crap out of you.

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Decades ago, The Crain family moved into an old home known as Hill House – a beautiful, gothic estate that is both breathtaking and ominous at the same time. Hugh (Henry Thomas) and his wife Olivia (Carla Gugino) plan to renovate the house, while living there, and then sell for a profit. Not long after moving in, a supernatural presence begins to terrorize their five children. It’s very easy to dismiss the frightened kids while in such an old, unfamiliar home. However Hugh will come to find that the haunting is very real.

Eventually, the family is forced to move out of the home, leaving the children with the memories forever seared into their minds. In time, they’ve all dealt with it in very different ways, especially Steven (Michiel Huisman) who has written a book on the ordeal. But they seemingly cannot escape the hold Hill House has on them.

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Though I’ve only watched the first episode, I have no doubts that The Haunting of Hill House will be one of the best horror series made. There are so many wonderful aspects, which is no shock when you find that it was created by Mike Flanagan (HushOuija: Origin of Evil, Oculus), who really knows how to play with the audience and give them those scares with a great story.

At first glance, the series is visually stunning. The set of Hill House is the perfect gothic haunted house you’d never dare enter. It’ll remind you of classics like The Haunting (1963), which is great, because it too was an adaptation of the very same book. But what’s great about this, is we’re no longer tied to the length of a theatrical film. Instead we are given 10 episodes to really explore this home and history of the family.

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It wonderfully flips back and forth between “then” and “now”, introducing you to the family and showing you the reality of their lives now. The nonlinear storytelling is not at all confusing, and allows you as a viewer to dissect the story differently with each piece we’re given.

While the scares are there, and boy will they get you, they aren’t overdone… at least not in this first episode. It’s moody and creepy, and never cheap. It makes it such a perfect show to cozy up to and binge over the weekend. You’ll get amazing scares, but also a well thought out and intriguing story.

The Haunting of Hill House is now streaming on Netflix.

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