The house on the hill

I was aware of the hype surrounding Netflix’s recent horror offering, The Haunting of Hill House, but I wasn’t sure I was prepared for it. I quite like a good horror but haven’t watched anything in that genre for such a long time, I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous about my nerves.

However, a friend recommended it and thus I was convinced to at least give it a go.

As you can probably guess from the fact I’ve written a post about it, I loved it! The first episode got off to a really slow start, and I wasn’t sure I was going to watch anymore until the very last few minutes, where there’s a sudden twist that turns everything on its head.

I don’t want to spoil anything here, so won’t go into details, but from that first episode, it was just superbly told and enticing all the way. Flipping back and forth through time, telling the story in a slow, methodical fashion, and gradually piecing together what has been going on in the family’s time both at the terrifying Hill House or in their lives since they left.

I read some reviews that suggested it was a good enough show but the characters were one-dimensional and uninteresting. I can totally see where that comes from, but equally you have to think about what this family has been through, and the fact that each sibling has essentially shut down in order to cope with the things they’ve seen. If you frame it like that, I think they do a great job.

(I don’t think this is a spoiler, but just in case, look away.) There’s also the secret insight that each child in the family represents one of the stages of grief, which I didn’t know at the time and does, indeed, make me want to rewatch again.

Having said all of that, I was a bit disappointed in the ending. It felt a bit twee after everything we had been through together. The gang sitting around a celebratory cake didn’t feel like it had enough gravitas considering the horrors that have been lived through. But structurally, it worked and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks to my friend for making me watch it, and I pass the recommendation onwards. It’s not gory, and there aren’t many jump scares, it’s just hard-core suspense and intrigue overlaid on a really good story. Great work.