Netflix releases The Haunting of Hill House


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Shirley Jackson’s book The Haunting of Hill House, is the inspiration for the Netflix show. “The Haunting of Hill House is an effective ghost story whose steadily mounting anticipation is just as satisfying as its chilling playoff,” Rotten Tomatoes critics consensus said about the show.

Kacy Mull, Ranger Review Reporter

The Haunting of Hill House is a captivating and suspenseful new Netflix series. The show is based on the novel by Shirley Jackson and came to Netflix on October 12. The series is directed by Mike Flanagan as he reimagines the original book in a modern world. He gives viewers a fresh new story revolving around the Crane family dealing with their trauma from the events that happened in Hill House after the death of the family’s youngest sister and daughter, Nelly.

The show deals with the issues of a dysfunctional family and mental and emotional scars left by traumatic events. Along with issues of insanity, grief, and the effects of drug addiction.The Haunting of Hill House has twists and turns with voids that are never truly filled in until the last few episodes.

In the beginning, The Haunting of Hill House is slightly confusing but grows clearer as the story progresses, and the flashbacks help fill holes in the storyline. Instead of building up to the family leaving their haunted house, viewers are given that scene early on, and it isn’t clear what had happened until the end, much like a lot of events.

The story switches through past and present, spending most of its time in past events, so viewers see how the events at Hill House still affect the family even after decades have passed since the events that drove them from their home. The flashbacks link to many problems that drive the family apart in their present lives. Nothing is clearly explained until the end of the show, where it all ties together in the last couple of episodes. At the very beginning, the viewers are shown scenes that happen later in the story that lead to the true plot of the show.

The show isn’t as bloody as I expected a horror show to be, but is just as disturbing because of the content that it does have. Dead kittens have bugs crawling from their mouths, children barely age seven are exposed to ghosts and the youngest brother even has an encounter with a zombie. The part that seems to be the most frightening is that all of these ghosts of so many dead people have been haunting Hill House for centuries. The father said that they, the Crane family, are like unfinished prey to the house and it would do anything to ensure their deaths.

The show directly blames the strange happenings in the house on ghosts instead of mental illness. The Haunting of Hill House still included a doubtful character that caused me to question whether the events are indeed the work of the supernatural or just hallucinations from a mental illness. Steven Crane exploited his family’s ghost story in his book despite him not believing in the supernatural and standing by his statement that his family’s claims of ghosts were because of mental illness.

Another haunting detail appears when the siblings realize that the house may as well be alive. There is a room called the “Red Room” for its red door that no one could open because the house only invites you in if it wants you inside its walls. At this point in the show, Hill House tried to kill the remaining siblings by making them either experience their own worst nightmares or coax them to follow death. The Red Room is the heart of the house. It changes to each person’s preference and becomes what they want. It changes its shape and appearance to appeal to the family.  

The Haunting of Hill House only becomes more disturbing when viewers see how a mother can be influenced to make an attempt on her own children’s lives and the life of someone else’s kid. She succeeds in killing a young girl named Abigail. It is heart wrenching enough to watch a small child be killed with rat poison at a tea party, but it is even more so when she is revealed to be the only child that survived childbirth of the caretakers of Hill House’s family and watching how they mourn her when they discover her body.

A really great aspect of the show is that ghosts aren’t the only beings in that world that can be classified as the supernatural. The women of the Crane family are explained to have supernatural abilities dating back to their mother’s grandmother. Their mother felt something wrong inside the house, due to her heightened senses regarding detecting spirits. Nelly was haunted by a ghost they named the Bent-Neck Lady, but it’s revealed that Nelly was just seeing her own death. The middle child could sense the pasts of things that she touched. The oldest sister didn’t seem to have an ability present, but she hallucinates with death, once seeing spiders crawling out of her dead kittens’ mouths.  

The Haunting of Hill House is a suspenseful story that keeps viewers hooked until the end. It truly shows what human nature is and deals with real-world problems in modern-day families. The horror in the show is great because it’s not only induced by ghosts or the supernatural, but people too. Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House deserves a 10/10.