The Haunting Of Hill House is a Netflix Original series based on the book by Shirley Jackson. The premise is simple. The Crain family move into Hill House with the intention of doing it up over the summer and flipping it. But Hugh and Olivia Crain, along with their five young children have no idea what's in store for them and how it will change their lives forever.
The ten episode arc covers the events at Hill House in disturbing detail. The siblings – Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke and Nell – are all grown up and 26 years has passed since the last time they stepped foot in the house. We meet them as adults, each coping in their own way. Then a phone call from Nell upends their lives.
Through flashbacks to their childhood, all experienced terrifying phenomena though for some it was worse than for others. Each episode focuses on one character's memories of living in the house up to the fateful night their father whisked them away and locked up the house forever.
What makes The Haunting Of Hill House so good is the perfect transitions between the present and the past. For every creepy and disturbing incident, there is a resolution that ultimately becomes much much clearer as the show goes on. Nothing is left unresolved as the family face the house and it's demons as well as their relationships with each other and their father.
It slots nicely into the horror genre but without the usual endless blood and gore. The first five episodes move along at a solid pace, setting up the events and the unanswered questions nicely. There are some shocking moments but mostly it's just creepy at the beginning. Creaking doors, creaking floorboards, lights going out, the kids seeing unexplainable things such as the bent-neck-lady. All are designed to ramp up the tension and hook you in. And it works a treat because by the time episode six starts the full on horror of the house jumps out at you from the screen.
The cast is perfect. Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel and Victoria Pedretti play the older Crain's with Carla Gugino (from Gerald's Game – review here) as Olivia and both Timothy Hutton and Henry Thomas playing father Hugh. But more than all of that, the most unsettling thing about this show is how deeply emotional it is. At times it is profoundly sad and your investment in the characters will be rewarded but seriously, get the tissues ready! The Haunting Of Hill House is a masterpiece.