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Review: The Haunting of Hill House

Molly Ashford, Editor-in-Chief

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Creating a new 10-episode series out of the acclaimed Haunting of Hill House novel, Netflix and director Mike Flanagan have brought the supernatural thriller to life. Despite Netflix’s consistent mediocracy in the realm of horror, The Haunting of Hill Housedoes what little horror content does: presents terror in many forms.

While overall critical acclaim has been positive, the ten hour-long episode format is a point of contention between critics. Though ten hours is a comparably long run time to what we consider a typical horror or ghost story, the fragmented episodes allow for different angles to be explored and for in-depth development of the characters. As twenty-first century horror becomes increasingly dependent on jump scares and predictability, a series that brings in an actual analysis of human interaction should be welcomed.

That is not to say that this series does not fall victim to some familiar downfalls, but predictability is nearly impossible to avoid in horror. Despite being centered around a stereotypical haunted-house story, The Haunting of Hill House also dabbles in the psychological realm. It is not only scary that ghosts and demons and supernatural worlds existin this series, but the effects of paranormal experiences on the main characters help to guide the show into something more sustentative than most modern horror films.

More than anything, the show has a gold mine of a plot, which is heavily attributed to Shirley Jackson, the woman who wrote the 1959 novel on which the show is based. Anything with children and horror is inherently scary to many audiences, and the story focuses heavily around the way that children dealt with ghosts in their young lives and the way that it haunts them—literally and figuratively—into their adult lives. The balance of interpersonal relations and supernatural relations leads the audience to be invested in the show on multiple levels.

The most appealing aspect of the show, in my opinion, is simply the fact that it is exactly what Netflix needed. As the platform has become more and more known for original content, horror endeavors have continuously flopped. Because of the already established following and name recognition that The Haunting of Hill Housepossesses, the show has already received more mainstream media publicity than any of Netflix’s recent horror series or films.

The Haunting of Hill House fulfills its purpose on many fronts, as it not only offers an unsettling and traditionally scary ghost story, but also serves as a good omen for future horror content on Netflix.

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Review: The Haunting of Hill House