Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Hill House, Horror, Literary adaptation, Mike Flanagan, Netflix, Shirley Jackson, TV series
Although thedullwoodexperiment is primarily (and until now exclusively) about movies, there’s a 10-part TV series showing on Netflix at the moment that should be required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in horror movies or the horror genre in general. That series is – you guessed it – The Haunting of Hill House. An expansion of the novel by Shirley Jackson, the series tells the story of the Crain family, and their experiences both living in Hill House in the early Nineties, and twenty-six years later when the influence of the house begins to make itself felt again. The story of the Crains is told in non-linear fashion with many scenes told from various perspectives and meshing between the past and the present. It features a terrific cast that includes Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Timothy Hutton, Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Victoria Pedretti as the Crain family, and is the brainchild of Mike Flanagan, the director of Oculus (2013), Before I Wake (2016), and Gerald’s Game (2017).
The series is quite simply one of the best things on TV at the moment: gripping, compelling, scary, finely written and directed (Flanagan directs all ten episodes), and replete with the kind of fluid camerawork that allows for increasing moments of dread in every episode. As the camera spins around the characters, or prowls the corridors and rooms of Hill House, each movement prompts the question, just what fresh horror is going to be revealed next? The series is also one of the finest examinations of the devastating effects that grief and loss can have on individuals that’s come along in a very long while. Alongside themes of mental illness, paranoia, and addiction, this is only occasionally played for laughs, and instead focuses on keeping audiences on the edge of their seats and hiding behind the nearest available cushion. With ghosts and apparitions likely to appear at any time and in any circumstance, watching the show becomes something of a challenge to get through if you’re easily spooked. But it’s definitely worth it. If you haven’t seen it yet, then give it a try – you won’t regret it.