Haunting of Hill House Review

“Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House.”

Although I have a bad history and a deep hatred for Halloween, I am happy that the holiday gives a little bit back to me in terms of its strong contributions to feeding my horror movie addiction. Typically, I am hard-pressed to get most of the residents of my own college house to sit down for a horror flick with me, but during the month of October, I can certainly count on this festive group of ladies to go full spooky. 

October is the perfect time for Netflix to drop its original series “The Haunting of Hill House,” loosely based on the 1959 Shirley Jackson novel. This Netlix original tells the story of the Crain family, Hugh, Olivia and their five children, Steven being the eldest followed by his sisters, Shirley, Theo and the little twins, Nellie and Luke.

The family moves into Hill House, location undisclosed, in order to perform renovations and resell it, so that the family can finally move into their forever house and will no longer have to move the children around. 

Unfortunately, tragedy and terror permeate their lives, which causes them to flee Hill House. The family is not yet brought back together until the suicide of their sister Nellie, when her husband drops dead from an aneurism a short eight months after their wedding day. Apparitions along with death, disease, pain, mental illness, addiction, disaster and divorce are just a few of the things that follow them throughout their adult lives, because of their connection with Hill House.

This show is beautifully done in every aspect —even the cinematography is filled with long scenes shot in circular motion with no cuts, adding to the intensity of the already fear-inducing plot.

Nothing in this show is done on accident; there are details and Easter eggs packed throughout all 10 episodes, each around an hour. This show is meant to be confusing in the way that they play with time, scattering the characters’ moments around them like confetti, and interlacing their horrifying paranormal encounters with the events in their psyches. 

It is meant to make the viewers feel as though they have not been paying proper attention, because every episode leaves you with a constant stream of questions that are to be answered in a future episode, which subsequently leaves you with more questions. 

“The Haunting of Hill House” relies on terror rather than horror, sprinkling ghostly figures around every scene, just to add to the chillingness that the screenplay itself provides. Viewers are meant to feel the fear of the children as they are haunted by the presences in the house as well as the real life pain of everything this family suffers through.

As the caretaker, Mrs. Dudley, so eloquently puts: “The world out there has teeth, and it is hungry and it is stupid and it eats and eats mindlessly.”

Each episode is packed with emotions from fear to pity to pain, as viewers watch the Crain family’s story unfold. Albeit, Halloween and spooky season have come and gone, there’s never a bad time of the year for a good scare and story.