Haunting of Hill House


Brianna Noto, Editor

While spooky season has come and gone, the horror genre is always in season. Especially shows as well-made as Haunting of Hill House. The series is loosely based on the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson and contains 10 one hour long episodes. The show follows a family of 7, the Crains, mostly focusing on the 5 children in their childhood and  adult life.

There are many components that make this series so iconic. 

However, the main element is its scare factor. In modern horror movies and TV shows, blood and gore is used as a sloppy, lazy way to shock and scare watchers. While gore is a part of the horror genre and can be fitting for some scenes, too much shows lack of effort. Instead of doing this, Hill House’s creator created scare factor using elements like background music, makeup and prosthetics, and even hidden ghosts in many scenes.

One of the most brilliant elements of the show is the in-depth character development. Every member of the family gets their own episode, which gets viewers to care about them and fully understand where they’re coming from and what they’re feeling. This works toward the payoff in the end, because people have gotten attached to the Crain family, and although creator, Mike Flanigan, has already stated that the Crain family’s story is over, many people want to see them again.

Haunting of Hill House is the perfect ghost story. It seamlessly blends supernatural ghosts with emotional ghosts that people carry around after traumatizing events. The show also hits on important issues such as mental illness, loss, and drug abuse. Of course it’s a horror show, but in some ways, it’s also a family drama.

The show also does an amazing job of building up tension to the point where the atmosphere is just eerie and uncomfortable. There are even hidden ghosts in many of the house scenes.  Jump scares are used but are never relied on and are not over-used. The lighting and overall look of the ghosts also add to the eerie atmosphere. The set design and overall aesthetic of the show is hauntingly beautiful. Throughout the show, the lighting remains fairly dark with a blue hue and the ghosts match that dark, blue aesthetic.

Of course, since the show goes back and forth between present day and flashbacks, each of the Crains needed a younger version of themselves.The child actors that portrayed the young Crains, were great actors and very closely resembled the older versions of themselves, which makes the story more believable.

Mistakes were also left in in some parts of the show. For example, the father, Hugh, accidentally tripped on a flashlight while filming, but they decided to leave it in. Mistakes like this make the scenes more realistic.

Throughout the show, there are many elements left unknown until the very end. The last episode perfectly ties up every loose end and answers all questions viewers may have without feeling like a bunch of information is being jammed into one episode. 

The end of the series is executed impeccably, however it left me wanting more.

Overall, the Haunting of Hill House is definitely worth the watch, even if you aren’t a fan of the horror genre. The story line goes beyond trying to scare viewers, and will stick with you after each episode.