The Netflix original series, The Haunting of Hill House, adapted from Shirley Jackson’s novel of theame name is a chilling ghost story but at its core a family drama. The season is made up of ten episodes and tell the story of the Crain family, parents Hugh & Olivia and their five children: Stephen, Shirley, Theodora (Theo), Luke and Eleanor (Nell) and the impact living in Hill House had on their lives. The family live there for a time in 1992 and shows the supernatural events and transitioning to their lives present day 26 years later where events lead them to confront their past.
The series begins with a tragedy within the Crain family, coming together and bringing their issues with themselves and each other to the surface, trying to deal with these issues bubbling under the surface while they do their best to cope and contain these issues. The flashbacks to 1992 chronicling their time at Hill House and how these events both natural and supernatural shaped their lives to where they are in 2018.
No stranger to horror involving haunted families, show creator Mike Flanagan (Ouija: origin of evil, Gerald’s game) and reuniting with previous cast members Carla Gugino, Lulu Wilson and his wife Kate Siegel with great results. Flanagan has made a strong and truly unsettling show striking a chilling nerve with a combination of chilling supernatural elements combined with other issues the Crain family encounter such as marital problems, financial difficulties even drug addiction.
The majority of the episodes focus on each member of the Crain family, akin to Lost, about they were affected by their time in Hill House while also building up the mystery of the show with what exactly happened, making you wonder if there were any ghosts at all and just the children’s imagination from living in the old mansion or could it be a hereditary mental illness. The show builds on this uncertainty, peppering in ghostly apparitions in the present day compared to their frequent appearances in 1992 as the show ramps up to it’s conclusion as they return to Hill House in present day 2018.
The show was very well acted with strong performances from Carla Gugino as Olivia, Victoria Pedretti and Violet McGraw who portrayed adult and child Nell respectively. The show was well acted but found myself more invested in the mystery than the characters themselves but did feel for Olivia and Nell and their story being the driving force of the show. Olivia for how her time at Hill House wore on her and Nell for her struggle both in 1992 and 2018. Also from Annabeth Gish as supporting character Mrs Dudley as the housekeeper for the Crains in 1992 who had worked for the residents for years and suffered herself as a result.
In summary, The Haunting of Hill House is excellently made show which gave a few restless nights with both jump scares and really chilling moments with well written and overall interesting characters.