By Lauren Jurgemeyer
Web Content Contributor
I have never been a fan of the horror genre, but the Haunting of Hill House is a magnificent masterpiece–a Netflix original series that is built on fear, family and fright.
Mike Flanagan, the director, is a cinematic genius. He utilized sound bridges, action matching and long takes to flawlessly concoct this series. Themes and plot elements remind me of Coraline and Monster House, but Hill House offers such an in depth plot that leaves the audience breathless.
Loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel by the same name, the Haunting of Hill House dives into an intricate plot surrounding the five Crain siblings. The series twists the past and the present into a tightly weaved storyline, leaving the audience guessing constantly.
The eldest sibling, Steve, is a novelist who exploits his family’s dark past to make money off his books. Shirley, the second eldest, is a practicing mortician who lives with the younger sister, Theodora, who is an unempathetic child psychologist. The youngest siblings are twins; Luke, a recovering heroin addict, and Nellie or Nell, a young woman who teters on the edge of sanity.
All the siblings are at odds with each other as they struggle with their own internal issues that stem from the loss of their mother and living in the Hill House during their childhood. All of the siblings try to cope with their mother’s suicide as well as the other ghosts that lurk in their past. Ghosts like the ‘Tall Man’ and the ‘Bent-Neck Lady.’ Not to mention the numerous ghosts that Flanagan purposefully placed in the background.
Early on in the ten-episode series, the episodes focus on a particular sibling and his or her experiences in his or her childhood and adult life. All the episodes range from forty-five-minutes to an hour, and completely captivates the audience for the duration of the time.
With typical horror films or television shows the viewer tends to anticipate jump-scares or frightening images, but with this series completely challenges the stereotypes of the genre. The plot is so intricately crafted–I have never seen a horror film that tugs at so many emotions with its overarching themes of family and forgiveness.
Though the series is only one season, the ending of the tenth episode offers complete closure and answers to almost all the questions posed in earlier episodes. This show is so much more than a horror flick, still, it does offer an accelerated heartbeat and a rush of adrenaline at certain moments.
The Haunting of Hill House is available on Netflix, and is the perfect binge for Halloween.
Featured screenshot via Netflix.