The Haunting of Hill House
This blog is the first TV series we’ve done for our Halloween recommendations and it is more than deserving of it. The Haunting of Hill House is a new Netflix original series created by Mike Flanagan. Yes, I’m recommending another one of his works and for good reason. He’s one of the best, if not the best, horror movie directors of the last decade and this series cements that status.
The Haunting of Hill House is loosely based on a novel by Shirley Jackson and tells the story of the Crain family and what they experienced in Hill House. The story is split between 1992 when the Crain family first moved to Hill House and then follows the family in present day. The show stars: Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain, the mother of the family; Henry Thomas as younger Hugh Crain and Timothy Hutton as older Hugh, the father of the family; Michiel Huisman as adult Steven and Paxton Singleton as young Steven; Elizabeth Reaser as adult Shirley and Lulu Wilson as young Shirley; Kate Siegel as adult Theodora aka Theo and Mckenna Grace as young Theo; Oliver Jackson-Cohen as adult Luke and Julian Hilliard as young Luke; Victoria Pedretti as adult Eleanor aka Nell and Violet McGraw as young Nell. Some fun facts: Kate Siegel is Mike Flanagan’s wife and starred in “Hush” plus appeared in his other movies; Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson played mother and daughter in Flanagan’s movie Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Before I get into the other aspects of the show I just want to say how awesome this cast is. Each of the main actors (both the older and younger versions) are excellent throughout the season. I was especially impressed by the young actors as each performed really well in what couldn’t have been an easy role, especially for the youngest two actors. Lulu Wilson is already a certified Scream Queen at only 13 years-old.
Aside from the cast, pretty much everything else about the series is excellent as well. It is very well written, well paced, and has great surprises and twists. The set design for Hill House is excellent and really brings the viewers in and gives the house life. The score to each episode is fantastic and enhances every moment, especially the scary ones. The design of the ghosts were all very well done, although one was a little goofy but I don’t want to specify which. The editing was excellently done in order to best alternate between the past and present with perfectly timed transitions from one year to the next. Last but not least this show is phenomenally shot. The cinematography for this show is, in my opinion, some of the best you’ll see in a TV series. From the angles, the movement, to the lighting, to the focus shifts each episode is brilliantly filmed. Not only does it look cool, but great cinematography can bring a show or movie up another level which is especially useful in the horror genre.
The Haunting of Hill House has definitely earned the critical acclaim it’s been getting. It’s one of Netflix’s best shows, it’s Flanagan’s best work, and it is one of the best things to come out of the horror genre over the last several years.
It’s only 10 episodes so you should be able to watch it all before Halloween is over. Bonus points if you can figure out what the Crain children represent without Googling it.