Brooke Cochrane Opinion Editor
In early October, Netflix released an original series called “The Haunting of Hill House,” based on the novel written by Shirley Jackson. There is only one season and ten episodes in total, with a rumored second season in the works. The story follows the Crain family, consisting of five children named Steve, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell, and their parents, Hugh and Liv.
The show starts with a strong opening scene with Hugh gathering his children into his car to get away from their mother due to a reason that is not revealed until the end. In just the first few minutes, viewers are immediately attracted to the story. It switches constantly from past to present, giving the audience snippets of living in the house, and then what their lives are like afterwards. “The Haunting of Hill House” is not for someone who does not enjoy the horror genre. I am a huge fan of horror and this show hit it right on the nose. It has everything a scary story needs: mystery, well-developed characters, plot twists, and motivation for the audience to root for the characters.
There are a lot of background details that you must pay attention to in order to really understand the story. Ghosts are hidden in almost every scene that you cannot really spot unless you focus. It is also important to pay attention to the rooms they are in when the story is set in the past and the family is living in Hill House.
The first five episodes follow each of the children’s stories, specifically portraying them in the order in which they were born. I do not want to give too much of the story away, however, it is not much of a spoiler. By the end of the first episode, we find out that Nell, the youngest, is dead. This leads the show into a plot line surrounding what happened to her. Gradually, it all leads back to Hill House.
If you are a fan of filmmaking, then you would definitely appreciate the sixth episode. Almost the entire thing is filmed in one shot. This means the actors could not mess up and had to remember every single line. It was very impressive on the director’s part as well as the actors.
Fans have gone to great lengths trying to analyze this show front to back. Some believe that each child represents a stage of grief, again, going in the order of age. Steve, the eldest, represents denial. Throughout the show, he refuses to believe that his childhood home was ever haunted. Shirley is full of anger towards her sister for letting death trap her in its claws. Theodora is bargainer because she puts her sense of touch into whether she can trust someone or not. Luke represents depression because in the first episode, we quickly learn that he has become a heroin addict. Finally, Nell is said to portray acceptance, she is the key for discovering the secrets that hide in the walls of Hill House.
I highly recommend “A Haunting of Hill House” to anyone who is a fan of horror and mystery. For those who frighten easily, in episode eight, there is a very big scare that will make your heart jump out of your chest, just to give you a fair warning.