I see dead people everywhere. Did you see all the hidden dead people in The Haunting of Hill House? I’m not just talking about the obvious 3 or 4 that everyone saw. If you’re looking for a great horror series to binge watch this Halloween season, Netflix has got you covered with Mike Flanagan’s contemporary horror masterpiece.
Darkness. Dysfunction. Grief and so many ghosts. Some houses aren’t meant to be lived in. With an intro like that, how could I not watch The Haunting of Hill House? I binge watched The Haunting of Hill House in a weekend because one episode in and I was addicted. More than addicted, I was engrossed. It is horror for smart people.
The Haunting of Hill House is a well-written haunting. Flashing back and forth between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it in the middle of the night. It is layered and nuanced so completely that it feels almost familiar to you and in a sense that makes it even creepier. It’s relatable. Not because most of us grew up in a haunted mansion, filled with supernatural ghosts lurking in every corner but most of us grew up in a family. Mine, big and connected in all of its dysfunctional glory.
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The relationship dynamic between the Crain family gives a depth and meaning to the story that leaves you invested in a way that most horror stories do not. The flashbacks between the present-day dysfunctional adulthood of the Crain siblings and the memories of an innocent childhood when their parents moved them into a fixer-up mansion for the summer. The fixer-upper that was supposed to be the way to build their dream home turned out to be full of more ghosts than anyone could have dreamed and altered their family irreparably.
I think most of us can see a bit of ourselves in the Crain family scenario. No one grows up and stays the same. I have 6 brothers and sisters and our dysfunctional childhood, though it bonded us like members of the same platoon in war, is also what made us the adults we are today. As we grew up and tried to outrun our own demons, the distance between us grew and while we share a past, our paths have diverged. That’s life.
The Haunting of Hill House uses genuinely disturbing imagery to set the tone. There is something about wide-eyed, innocent children being terrorized by things that appear and disappear and go bump in the night that is unnerving. I got goosebumps several times watching the series. Upon watching it a second time, it got scarier because I saw more lurking malevolent spirits.
To see Crain siblings grow into damaged adults as a result of the things seen and unseen that happened to them in Hill House left me feeling truly sad for the loss and fracture they had suffered. It was as if they all tried to avoid one another to avoid having to remember that horrible thing that happened to them as children.
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The show is filled with terrifying sights and sounds – a dead mom trying to drag her adult son into an open grave; a flying man with no face; a half-bodied zombie in the basement attacking a small child in the dark. Each attack, around every corner, something more sinister lurks. By the time you’re done watching, you’ll feel like someone is watching you.
It’s obvious from the start that Hill House has effectively placed a supernatural curse on the Crain family and that, try as they might, there’s no outrunning it. Far from making matters predictable, this conjures a dread that, punctuated with the occasional boo from beyond, becomes cumulatively suffocating.
The Haunting of Hill House is very scary at face value. But when it holds a mirror up to real life, that is when it truly grabs hold and refuses to let go. It’s that familiar feeling of déjà vu and knowing that if it could happen to this seemingly normal family, it could happen to anyone…even you. This is why I think you should watch the Haunting of Hill House.