I've always been into the spookier side of cinema. I like the haunts, the jump scares, and the shit that stays with you to freak you out long after the credits roll. Usually, these elements only show themselves in the realm of lengthy works like movies but this October, Netflix changed the game by releasing a ten episode series called "The Haunting of Hill House" based off of Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name.
I'm going, to be honest, I waited a while before I decided to begin watching, but after seeing nothing but praise from all aspects of my social media, I decided I couldn't hold out any longer. Man, am I happy I didn't. From the characters of the young Crain family to the dysfunction of the old Crain family, this series has so many twists and turns, there's no better way to watch it than all at once, back to back.
I started watching "The Haunting of Hill House" on a Thursday night, and that same night I ended up watching the first 3 episodes of the series and simultaneously fell in love with the sweet Crain family circa 1980ish. It takes almost no time for the series to launch into the haunts and the spooks, those small moments leading the way for a more broad spectrum of the supernatural. The family of 7 moves into an enormous old house in hopes of restoring it and selling it at the end of the summer. Enamored by the sprawling floor plan, acres upon acres of land to explore, and tons of hidden treasures buried in the house left behind by past inhabitants, both Mr. and Mrs. Crain, and their five children are more than preoccupied with familiarizing themselves with the house, and finding their new normal in a place they'd never been before.
Throughout their stay in the house, each member of the Crain clan begins to witness things they can't completely explain, and Mrs. Crain slowly begins to get lost in the past and present inhabitants. Skipping between past and present, viewers are able to gather that the matriarch of the Crain clan does not make it into the present as the rest of her family does. And the rest of her family has spread themselves from coast to coast, leaving their patriarch to exist on his own.
The present-day Crain family guides the series into speaking about topics like mental health, drug addiction, and the grieving process. With their youngest sister, Nell, struggling to keep the demons of the house out of her head, and their youngest brother, Luke, struggling to overcome a heroin addiction, the Crain family has its hands full. Each member has their own private struggles while also attempting to support their brothers and sisters as best they can, much like many realistic families, with the constant nagging of what happened in the Hill House standing in their way. Each of these trials is expressed in a way that makes them both relatable to the audience because they are real life, everyday problems but also keeps the haunting factor alive without making it seem too played out.
This series will leave you questioning, a little sad, but extremely ready for the next season, should a next season be something that Netflix is interested in continuing. I watched the series in just three days, and I would gladly watch it again. The characters, both the young and old versions of themselves, have something that pulls the viewer in and makes them want to be a part of their lives. Each character is so well fleshed out and the viewer really feels as if they could be friends with this person in real life. The scare factor throughout the series never feels overdone or too dramatic which is a new element of spooky that makes the viewer think twice about anything they might not be able to explain in their own life.
Overall, 10/10, this series is one of the best-haunted series, and one of the best book adaptations I've seen. I definitely recommend it to anybody who likes to walk on the spookier side of television and anybody who might be interested in family dynamics mixed with a little of the supernatural.