In a landscape oversaturated with formulaic horror tropes and jump scares, The Haunting of Hill House emerges as a masterful psychological thriller.
It is based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel, and created for Netflix by Mike Flanagan.
This modern reimagining weaves together the past and the present, turning the haunted mansion into a sprawling metaphor for familial trauma.
Combining meticulous character development with spine-chilling visuals, the series is far more than just another ghost story.
It is an incisive examination of grief, guilt, and the unnerving corridors of the human mind.
As much a family drama as it is a horror show, The Haunting of Hill House has a brilliant plot and deeply relatable characters, proving once again that the most enduring fears are those that lurk within our own hearts.
What Is The Haunting of Hill House About?
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.
The Haunting of Hill House Official Trailer
Is The Haunting of Hill House Worth Watching?
The Haunting of Hill House 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 (Easy), Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel and Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Bly Manor) 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.
Where Was The Haunting of Hill House Filmed?
The Haunting of Hill House was primarily filmed in Georgia, USA.
The state has become a popular filming location due to its tax incentives for filmmakers, and its versatile landscapes can stand in for a variety of settings.
For the series, a combination of real locations and soundstages were used to bring the hauntingly atmospheric Hill House to life.
The grand exterior shots and some of the interior scenes were filmed in real mansions, while more intricate sets were constructed on soundstages to capture the almost dreamlike quality of the haunted house.
This blend of real-world locations and carefully crafted sets contributed to the eerie, immersive environment that makes the series such an effective psychological thriller.
Who Wrote The Haunting of Hill House?
The Haunting of Hill House is a novel written by American author Shirley Jackson, published in 1959.
The book is a seminal work in the horror genre and is considered one of the best literary ghost stories published in the 20th century.
When it was released, the novel received a mixed to positive critical reception. While it wasn't an instant commercial blockbuster, its intellectual depth and psychological complexity earned it substantial critical acclaim.
Over the years, the book's reputation has grown significantly, and it has come to be considered a classic of horror literature.
The novel has been the basis for two films and a hit Netflix series, evidencing its enduring appeal and its influence on the horror genre.
Renowned authors like Stephen King have cited it as a significant inspiration, and it's often used in academic settings for its rich thematic layers and the complexities of family dynamics.
So while it may not have been a commercial juggernaut upon its initial publication, its cultural and literary impact has been considerable and lasting.