>> There’s no denying that we are currently living in the golden age of television. About a decade ago, working on a television show used to be considered career suicide. Today networks like HBO, Showtime, and FX are releasing shows and miniseries that stand tall in comparison with some of the best films of our time. The long episodic structure of a show allows for a dense plot, and there’s no need to adhere to the MPAA’s strict guidelines about sex and violence since these shows are sans silver screen. We’ve seen a surge of television shows since streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix began dipping their opulent toes into distribution and production. I’ve reviewed many Netflix Originals—which are clearly hit or miss—but Netflix Original series have quite a high reputation.
This October, Netflix added their new original series The Haunting of Hill House to their “Netflix and Chills” (yes this is actually the category name for all the spooky Halloween content you can find on Netflix). Directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Oculus), The Haunting of Hill House is a ten episode teleplay based off the novel by Shirley Jackson. The series follows five siblings who as children lived in what would become the most haunted house in America. Now as adults, they are forced to revisit the evils that continue to haunt them.
The series is comprised of haunted flashbacks mixed with the psychological consequences the siblings' experience after their traumatizing time in the Hill House. The flashbacks are filled with common horror movie tropes, but this can easily be forgiven due to the dramatic present-day scenes. There are not many horror movies or shows that really focus on the characters after the initial haunting/trauma, and the flashbacks compliment the present day storyline effortlessly. The writing varies a bit episode to episode—some leaving unanswered questions open to the audience to piece together, others feeding the answers directly us. However, the writing is very engaging and surely can glue anyone into their seat, even if horror isn’t your thing.
The Haunting of Hill House is a strong series that Netflix can add to their portfolio—it’s sure as hell binge-worthy, especially during this spooky Halloween season! Yes, the acting isn't the best and it brings down certain scenes. However, the series has a consistent visual style and a unique and mysterious plot that will have you yelling your predictions at your TV. I highly
recommend giving this series a watch to enhance your October festivities. 7/10 <<