I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of the first episode of The Haunting of Hill House followed by a Q&A with some of the stars from the series which can be found here.
The Haunting of Hill House is based on the novel written by Shirley Jackson and is a 10 episode Netflix series directed by Mike Flanagan – best known for Oculus, Hush and most recently Gerald’s Game, the on screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel by the same name.
Sporting a brilliant cast including Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegal, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Victoria Pedretti, expectations for me were quite high and I am glad to say from the first episode, they really delivered something special.
The series explores a family who had moved into the Hill House, and as young children, had many disturbing experiences living in the house, forcing them to flee. This massive, eerie house in the country went on to become the most famous haunted house in America. Now as adults, a tragic event happens which forces the siblings back together to confront their haunted past, which for some still haunts them today.
The first episode was a very clean cut introduction to the family. With smooth transitions, we were introduced to the siblings one by one as adults, where they are now and also as flashbacks when they were children when the hauntings had occurred. This episode was paced very well, there wasn’t any dragging and they didn’t give too much away of what was going on at the house when they were younger. It’s quite a tense reveal as the episode goes on, but still at the end you’re constantly trying to piece together what was going on with no indication of why. So it’s a very clever way of drawing you in and wanting to know more.
You get a great feel for the characters, from just one episode I already care for them and want to move forward with them. This came from the flashbacks of when they were younger and you get a better understanding of their relationships with each other, who had witnessed the hauntings and who it affected the most. The sibling chemistry was refreshing to watch especially between Shirley and Theodora (Reaser and Siegal).
The child actors were amazing. They were funny and really grasped what it’s like having a big family with many siblings at that age. It’s sad to say that sometimes child actors can come across a little annoying as it does sound like they’re reading from a script, but this bunch were far from that. It’s enjoyable when it all flows well and they’re really in that headspace of the character they’re playing. They’re on-screen relationships with Gugino and Thomas were believable which made going back and forth with the flashbacks very easy to watch.
I love a good scare, and from the first episode, I can tell you now there are some very good jump scares. The scares are not silly and thrown at you like a bucket of water. They’re tense, slow and get your eyes wondering around the whole screen looking to see if there’s anything else about to come for you. It was really creepy, not to mention the set designs, makeup and costumes. You really get the feel of this Gothic horror and not walk out laughing because it was silly, but you laugh because you were actually creeped out. Mike Flanagan and cinematographer Michael Fimognari really know how to bring to light your insecurities with these slow and tense heart racing scenes.
The Haunting of Hill House starts on Netflix on Friday 12th October and I can’t wait.
Want to know what happened at the event and the massive scare I had? You can read all about it right here.