So, Let me start by saying I would give this show an 8.5, however, I have bumped it to a 9 as I finished the show recently, and my impressions of the last two episodes may be negatively skewing it lower.
Let's begin with the premise of the show, to which I will be lovingly comparing it to the hit 2004 TV show "Lost" and an incredible tour de force recent film "Hereditary". We begin by being introduced to the show's main characters. A family of seven, five children and two parents. The show starts in 2018 and we are introduced to a grown up version of the family. We instantly make our snap judgements of the characters, usually negative in most cases. And then in the style of lost, we experience the story of each character (with one episode being allocated to one member) in a double flashback fashion. First we are told the story of the children whom lived at Hill House many years ago. And then we are told a more recent story of the character that leads them to present day.
I want to say that this version of story telling is not unique to "The Haunting of Hill House", however, it might be that it is the best implementation of it I have seen to date. Utterly gripping. I don't know if anyone reads the novel. I have had the opportunity to read years ago. I liked it. The show isn't exactly a novel. There are serious changes. Of course a good change. The show sells us this incredible multi-faceted mystery, that intertwines throughout the years, and where none of the family are on the same page. And it does a wonderful job of tying up all those narratives, all those moments that you just let go as a "glitch in the system" but then later it would call back to it and you would understand a mystery you didn't even know existed. With that, it is important to recognise the fantastic job the show did of revealing the "How" of the show. How everything tied together.
A fan of black and white horror movies I am well acquainted with Robert Wise's 1963 "The Haunting", which to this day stands out to me as a classic of the haunted house horror genre. Netflix's "The Haunting of Hill House" retains a lot of what makes that movie so great while also branching out on its own and introducing diverse and interesting characters. Also child players and adults really look like each other. Cast selection successful. While there is a definite difference of rating and the show opted to go into the realm of color tv I consider both to be entertaining and chilling in what makes classic horror effective. There's even familiar nods to the movie- the iconic spiral staircase, a scene where two people are scared out of there minds by the walls seemingly coming alive and starting to shake, etc. This series falls more in the suspense than in horror and evidently if you are one of those who thinks that horror means gallons of blood and deaths every 20 minutes, forget it.
The series focuses on the stories of different siblings in different episodes. And it shows the stunning points that individual stories touch. In fact, each time, we see that there are different points of events. We see the same event from other perspectives. Thus, the story of the family takes on a more intense dramatic structure, on the other hand it is becoming more and more complex thanks to the different details revealed. The funeral scene in episode 6 has a really good shooting technique. The camera enters the recording and the scene is shot in a single sequence. One of the most impressive scenes I've seen on TV. I mean, Mike Flanagan's giving a directing lecture.
Where the Netflix series really stands out to me is by tying all of the horror elements to PTSD, making you question whether these horrors are really just confined to the house, the people who lived in it, or both. The characters are somehow trying to live out their lives to the fullest and keep their sanity after the history and tragic memories of living in a haunted house. Each character believes different things about what happened there, and each is damaged in their own way. It feels somewhat reminiscent to TV shows like Lost in a way. This show goes pretty deep into this reality and for some it could possibly hit a little too close to home. 9/10
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