The reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, Mike Flanagan’s Hill House is a wildly ambitious and terrifyingly creative show. But it also offers a powerful exploration of grief, community and the boundaries between them.
When Hugh, Olivia and their five children move into Hill House in the summer of 1992, they become engrossed in the paranormal phenomenon that haunts the house. They also discover a tragic history that includes suicide and other violent deaths.
In Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel, each member of the Crain family is haunted by a different experience. Their stories are shaped by their own traumas, and as they attempt to deal with them, they’re forced to negotiate with the ghosts of Hill House in order to keep their lives on track.
Among them are Eleanor, who has spent her entire life caring for her invalid mother; Steven, who has a knack for writing horror novels; and the Crain siblings Luke and Nell, who each have their own unique stories to tell. But there’s one character who has made an impact on every member of the family: Kate Siegel as fan-favorite Theo.
The Crain family moves into Hill House in the summer of 1992 with the intention of renovating it and selling it. However, they soon start to experience paranormal activity.
Director Mike Flanagan wanted to evoke the ghostly atmosphere of Hill House by incorporating gothic elements. To do this, he researched a variety of haunted houses, and based his design on accounts from famous haunted homes such as Castle Neuschwanstein and the Winchester Mystery House.
The Crain family moves into Hill House, an old mansion, during the summer of 1992. It’s a house they plan to renovate and flip for profit, but they soon find out it’s not just any old house.
The kids — practical Steven, intense Shirley, intuitive Theo, and impressionable twins Nell and Luke – are all beset by paranormal hauntings as they explore the mansion. Their mother, architect Olivia (Carla Gugino), and handyman dad Hugh (Henry Thomas) aren’t all so sure about the place either.
Episode 2 of Hill House is an incredibly effective balance between tension-based horror and a deep dive into the show’s themes of grief, parenting and trauma. It’s also one of the most satisfying episodes of the entire season.
Shirley’s past brush with death stirs memories of traumatic losses and awakens long-dormant fears. She also holds a session for a young boy who is experiencing a spirit of his grandmother.
The Crains’ family reunion reveals a tangled history of death, suicide, and madness. And the house’s haunting takes a turn for the worse when Hugh discovers a skeleton inside Hill House.
Then, a harrowing glimpse of Nell’s suicide lingers in Luke’s mind. It’s a heartbreaking moment that adds to the show’s haunting force.
Episode 4 of The Haunting at Hill House is a triumph, balancing tension-based horror with a family drama that explores grief and parenting. It’s a powerfully crafted episode that propels the series forward and is one of the most effective of the season.
This episode also reveals the truth behind That Night, explaining why Liv perverted the idea of safety in Hill House and forced Luke and Nell to kill themselves. It’s a devastating moment in the show and Carla Gugino is amazing in it.
Mike Flanagan’s supernatural horror series continues to chill viewers to the bone with its stunningly tragic tale that deals with a number of themes, including grief. Episode 5 is no exception, propelling the main narrative forward while offering genuinely chilling scares.
“Two Storms” is one of the show’s best episodes, not only because it propels the story forward but also because it focuses on the underlying theme of dealing with grief. It’s a great example of how Flanagan is able to balance horror with a family drama perfectly.
Mike Flanagan’s new Netflix horror series The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best small-screen horror shows on the streaming service. But there’s one episode that stands out:
It’s called “Two Storms.” It features five long takes as the family reunites in a funeral parlor for Nell’s death, and then flashes back to a night in 1992 when they all fled from Hill House due to a paranormal disturbance.
As the family prepares to say goodbye, a flashback reveals Mr. Dudley’s connection to Hill House and exposes a secret in the walls.
The Crain siblings are all islands, isolated from one another by their experiences in Hill House. Hugh, ever the fixer, fixes this by transforming his phantom wife into a living presence who can talk to the kids and keep them safe.