Netflix’s series adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel “The Haunting of Hill House” has just premiered, and we’re going to share our review with you.
Thinking they will make a quick profit, the Crain family moves into a grand house to make repairs and flip for a profit, but nothing is as easy as it sounds. Between the aging home’s repairs and the sudden troubles that quickly begin, their lives will forever be changed.
The family is left to confront the haunting events of the home’s past along with the ghosts that still walk its halls as we jump between the past and the present, slowly revealing what terrifying events have set the family down their paths.
The family’s eldest son, Steven (Michael Huisman/Paxton Singleton), is a writer of the paranormal sort. He finds himself in a troubled marriage thanks to secrets he’s long hidden from his wife. For some reason, even though he was 15 while the family lived in Hill House, he seems to have the least amount of memory of the time in the house. His book about their stay appears to be almost a constant friction between him and his siblings.
The eldest daughter, Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser/Lulu Wilson), grows into a woman who is a mortician by trade. She has a young family of her own but always comes across as cold, domineering, distant, and judgy during her interactions with her family and her brothers and sister. To be honest, I found her character quite annoying.
The Middle daughter, Theo (Kate Segal/McKenna Grace), is frigid and keeps everyone at a distance. You will quickly notice that she wears gloves all the time. The reason is exposed and makes sense. I’m not going to spoil it for you. Kate Segal, who plays adult Theo, does a beautiful job with her character.
Twins Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Nell (Victoria Pedretti) experienced the most trauma in Hill House and shows. Luke is a troubled man, suffering from both drug addiction and the continued seeing of the ghost that plagued him as a child, an extremely tall, floating man with a cane. Nell comes off like a delicate little bird who has always wanted one thing: to bring her broken family back together. Her story is central to the series. Her childhood stalker is a floating woman with a fractured neck; it is very creepy.
Both Henry Thomas and Timothy Hutton play Hugh Crane, a man who thinks he can fix everything except for his family, which is broken beyond repair after a tragedy. He is the skeptic, at least in the first several episodes. After a death, he becomes an absent father, and his children hate him for it.
Carla Gugino stars as Mrs. Olivia Crane, a beautiful, doting mother who finds herself at the mercy of the house, her headaches, and sleepwalking. Her part of this tale is genuinely tragic. While she wears a smile around her children, she is depressed, confused, and struggling. Gugino nailed it.
“The Haunting of Hill House” is wonderfully dark and frightening and has more twists than a mountain road. It’s brilliant. I’m a seasoned horror fan, and I even hid behind my blanket a time or two.
The house itself was excellent, with no detail overlooked. During the day, it was beautiful and elegant, but at night, it was the perfect place for horror. Among its statues and furniture, ghosts peek out. The house is a character, a monster all on its own.
Before I watched the series, I was concerned that the story might become too much with so many important characters to keep track of, each with their own story to tell. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. The story was complex but not a burden to follow.
One of the most essential things in the series is that time may not be linear like most believe, but instead “falls like raindrops all around us.” This may be an issue with some viewers, but I hope not. I ask that if you haven’t seen the show yet, you keep an open mind. It’s totally worth it.
The soundtrack was perfect. It was subtle but effective. The Newton Brothers created music that never came across as overbearing or loud, only enough to frame the story, not overshadow it. I was so impressed by the soundtrack that I sat down with The Newton Brothers for an interview to learn more about their sound and process.
This series had my emotions running the gambit between intrigued and spooked and even drove me to tears; thanks to the monologue from Victoria Pedretti’s Nell in the finale, seriously, it was touching.
Writer-director Mike Flanagan did an absolutely incredible job. In fact, everyone did a great job, from Flanagan to the cast to the crew. Some people will argue with me, but I don’t care; I’m calling it. “The Haunting of Hill House” is the best horror series of the year. No question. If you haven’t seen it, close your device, hop on Netflix, call in sick if you need to, and binge-watch the hell out of “The Haunting of Hill House” right now!