The Haunting of Hill House poster courtesy of Netflix under Creative Commons License

The Haunting of Hill House Goes Beyond Jumpscares

November 29, 2018

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I’m not a big fan of things horror, but somehow Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House, as creepy and scary as it is, still found a way to keep me hooked enough to binge-watch 10 episodes in one day.

While it is pretty hard to avoid spoilers with this show, I’ll do my best (unlike my friends who enjoyed spoiling this show for me.)

Here’s the basic plot: Hugh and Olivia Crain and their kids, Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke, and Nellie move into a house in hopes of flipping it and making some money. The show details how they’re met with paranormal encounters which eventually drive them out of the house in the dead of night. The real conflict comes from how those terrifying encounters continue to follow them into adulthood.

Viewers must be prepared for significant time shifts, as well as be aware that following the plot can be confusing as it goes back and forth from past to present to show exactly what caused the present events.

The first five episodes depict the events in the house from each kid’s perspective, each with their own form of hauntings. And let me tell you, these kids should have had nightmares every night for the rest of their lives. At the risk of giving a spoiler, I have to mention that one of the most terrifying creations of this show is the Bent-Neck Lady, a woman who haunts Nellie at the foot of her bed. It follows her as she grows up and causes quite a few problems for all of them. In the later episodes, we see all five of them, including their father, trying to get rid of the nagging ghosts and hallucinations. Two episodes that I couldn’t stress enough for you to watch is episodes 5 and 6, which are both absolutely astounding.

Apart from jumping from the numerous jump scares, I am so glad I was convinced (yes, by my mom) to watch this show. Each of the 10 episodes is about an hour long, so go ahead and judge me if you want, but I was hooked by the first episode, unable to even stop to get a quick bite to eat. Although, watching it while being alone at home was probably a bad idea as this show does have a few alarming scenes. It is directed to people who are 16+, however, given what else teens are exposed to shows these days, I would say that those 14+ should be able to watch it as well.

Most horror movies and shows focus more on scares to get your heart pumping, and while this show definitely does have its share, it pulls viewers in thanks to good character development. Compared to American Horror Story, another popular horror show, The Haunting of Hill House comes out on top, keeping you on your couch for hours. You’ll come to truly care for the characters and the pain they go through.

The actors could not put more emotion into their characters. The acting exceeds most shows these days, especially Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke) and Victoria Pedretti (Nellie). It’s as if you can feel their fear through your screen. Victoria has surprisingly never acted in anything else, but does a phenomenal job. All actors, experienced or not, are incredible and really portray their characters perfectly. The actors who play the youngers versions of them also do a stunning job; another plus is the casting crew chose the perfect kids as they look very similar to their present selves.

A show with ghosts, heart-pumping jumpscares, and even some heartfelt moments definitely deserves 10 ghostly stars out of 10. Now, I’ll just have to count down the days to season 2.

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