Deception, edginess shown in ‘Hill House’


“The Haunting of Hill House,” a new show on Netflix, has become successful in its first few weeks, and has rejuvenated the feeling of terror this generation of TV shows and movies are meant to have.

The series begins with the Crain family in the newly famous Hill House and their plan to flip the estate and make money off selling it at the end of the summer. What they weren’t expecting was how quick living in the house would change to surviving in the house.

The show switches from past to present in the lives of the Crains, and how they are ultimately forced to return to Hill House to face the ghosts lurking in the shadows. The family must pay attention to each member for the fear that tragedy might strike, as it happens numerous times from the beginning of the series.

There is no single protagonist, for the entire season is carried by each family member’s fears, insecurities and sinister actions, which the house feeds off of while the family is living there after their stay.

Nell Crain, the youngest of the five Crain children, becomes haunted early on by a terrifying “Bent-Neck Lady” who never seems to leave Nell’s sight. This spirit seems to be the seed that grew into Nell suffering from sleep paralysis, which makes her the most vulnerable of the five.

Luke Crain, Nell’s twin, struggles with a heroin addiction throughout most of the show, likely stemming from his childhood trauma in the house. His big heart and curious mind led him to encounter spirits like Abigail and William Hill, aka the “Floating/Bowler Hat Man.”

The next in line is the middle sibling, Theodora Crain, who from the beginning of the show has a sensitivity to anything that meets her skin, more so her hands, which is why she wears gloves for a majority of the show. Theo uses her gift as an upper hand when helping troubled children during her day job as a psychiatrist.

Shirley Crain, the oldest sister, doesn’t have any encounters with ghosts or have special gifts while in Hill House. However, the trauma she experienced while trying to find herself during her stay eventually led to her owning a funeral home and becoming an opinionated, control freak, perfectionist adult.

Lastly, the oldest sibling, Steve Crain, holds the role of “protective big brother” in the series. He grows up to become a novelist, writing about paranormal activities around the country, and his family’s experience in Hill House. Ironically, little Stevie denies the validity of hauntings and ghosts, resulting in blood being shed between him and the other Crain siblings.

Olivia and Hugh Crain, the parents of the family, exert love, compassion and security towards their family, something Hill House lacks and is not fit to have. Their marriage and sanity are put to the test multiple times in the show, resulting in a gradual death in the end.

A must watch from beginning to end, “The Haunting of Hill House” takes some time before putting its audience on edge, but allows the anticipation to build up before unfolding the truth and deception. Unlike the Red Room, which feasted on the Crain family’s fear, this show will leave you hungry for more.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)