The Haunting of Hill House combines comedy and horror in a recent Netflix series  

29 January 2019

Zachary Engelman

zengelma@gmail.com

    Although the already popular series, “The Haunting of Hill House,” has been on Netflix since October 2018, it is still a much watch for those of you who have yet to see it.

    The series is a modern retelling of a Shirley Jackson novel featuring a family that has grown up under the pressure of horrors and trauma.

    The kids have gone their separate ways, and the father is alone. As the story progresses, the viewer begins to learn of the tragic events at their once family home that have left them traumatized and broken. The narrative jumps between future and past events, making the audience unsure at times when an event they are witnessing is supposed to have taken place.

    The horror series then uses time as catalyst for fear by keeping the viewer on their toes, constantly trying to stitch together the broken events to form a true timeline. The resulting story is a suspenseful thriller mystery that takes great effort and calculation to give the viewer just enough to make them curious, but not enough to satisfy that curiosity until the very end.

    This is primarily a horror story, but has a lot to say about real consequential topics like drug addiction, abuse and family ties. This is made more impactful for the unreliability of the characters’ accounts of events in the story and the general mysticism of stories that feature hauntings.

    The show’s impressive acting leaves little room for disappointment. Michiel Huisman, known as Steven Crane in the series, has an uncanny ability to hide his character’s motives in a way that feels authentic. His stoic, unapologetic character connects the audience to the story in a unique way and causes them to invest in the lives of this family. The rest of the cast is dynamic and interesting, throwing off stereotypical tropes that usually hold horror stories back.

    Praise must also be give to Mike Flanagan for directing this series. Child actors are notoriously difficult to handle, but Flanagan was able to give some amazing performances, which only further elevate the show above the typical horror tale.

    The computer generated imagery is used expertly, blending perfectly with practical effects and creating a style of imagery that is believable and terrifying. There are a few episodes that use better effects than others, but it is clear that Netflix is doing a great job at keeping up with other networks like HBO in this department.

    Overall, the show is an exciting and thought-provoking, and has something to offer for a wide range of audiences and consists of ten gripping episodes for you to occupy your time with.

    “The Haunting of Hill House” has also impressed a fair share of critics, scoring an impressive 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you aren’t so impressed with what critics have to say, take into consideration that the review aggregator also measures audience opinion, promising that 91 percent of viewers liked the show in its first season.

    Maybe a show like this will take the edge off of the recent Netflix price increase. Even it does not, be sure to binge “The Haunting of Hill House” while snowed-in on a cold night, but make sure to grab a buddy, because this one gets a little scary.

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