I’m not familiar with the book that this Netflix show is based on, but then from what I understand this is meant to be more a ‘remix’ of the book anyway. All I can say though is, faithful to the book or not, this is without a doubt one of the most incredibly brilliant shows I have seen in a very long time.
The Haunting of Hill House is all about the Crain family, flitting between then, now, yesterday and varying points in their lives. From their early years of living in a haunted house and having to leave quickly one night following their mothers suicide, to adulthood and trying to keep it all together in order to live some kind of normal life. The show takes a little while to settle in and to get comfortable with who is the adult version of which child (there are 5 children in total) and where they’re all currently at in their lives, but after that the show just goes from strength to strength. Taking a few episodes to cover each child’s story, all the while carefully taking the time occasionally to go back to their childhood life in the house, piecing things together for us. Continuing to add layers to each character and highlighting key points in those early years that subsequently affect their behaviour towards other family members as grown ups. It’s like a much darker version of ‘This is Us’, with added horror and jump scares!
Whenever I read any positive reviews for the movie Hereditary, everything they describe about what made it great for them is totally what I got out of this show. It’s the complete opposite to what I got from Hereditary, and I came away from that just feeling angry, frustrated and hugely disappointed. With The Haunting of Hill House though, every episode gripped me, sticking with me for a long time after. Episodes featuring beautifully elaborate long takes draw you into the drama, camera weaving between and around the characters and scenery, creating opportunities for some fantastic effects, especially within the house at night. Perfectly paced storytelling, effective without overly used scares, and some truly heart-breaking sadness at times. I loved it all, from start to finish.