Just in time for the season of ghost stories and horror films, Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel “The Haunting of Hill House,” was released as a television series on Netflix, bringing a new light to the mansion that has been overtaken by paranormal activities.
[media-credit name=”Photo Courtesy of Netflix” align=”alignright” width=”500″][/media-credit]The ten episode Netflix series was created by Mike Flanagan, a known horror filmmaker. The television adaptation of the novel focuses on five children who lived temporarily in the Hill House where a strange tragedy occurred, forcing the children to leave the home unexpectedly. Over 20 years later, the now grown children and their father meet up again to figure out what happened in that haunted house.
After only being on Netflix for a few weeks, the show has proved to be a huge hit for the streaming company. The series has received a critical approval rating of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80 percent from Metacritic. Even well-known horror mastermind Stephen King had something positive to say about “Haunting of Hill House.”
“The ‘Haunting of Hill House,’ revised and remodeled by Mike Flanagan,” King said via Twitter. “I don’t usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure.”
The story of “The Haunting of Hill House” has been adapted for the big screen twice before the Netflix series, once in 1963, written by Robert Wise and titled “The Haunting”. The second time in 1999, for a film called “The Haunting,” directed by Jan De Bont. But, Flanagan’s television adaptation, that he both created and directed, took the story a step further with his decision to veer away from the original plot of the novel and revive the story of Hill House in a unique way.
Instead of having Hugh Crain be the builder of the haunted Hill House, he was a new owner that moved his family in, hoping to spruce up the house and resell it. The team of researchers in the novel are actually Crain’s children in the spinoff series. The overall plot of the novel is incorporated in the series in a different, but interesting way.
On top of the developed plotline that overall has a creepy vibe, the show incorporates a ton of jump scares and other elements that will keep audience members completely engaged with the storyline. Yes, it will definitely keep them on the edge of their seat with scenes that include bugs crawling out of mouths, spirits of all ages popping up all over the screen and even some faces that are melting before the audience’s eyes, but this is the aspect that makes this series stand out beyond the other horror films making its way to Netflix. The plotline and the overall filmography of the show has given this series lot of praise from other horror masterminds.
Even with the hidden ghosts and other paranormal activities that are incorporated in all the episodes, Flanagan was more drawn to the psychological aspect of what it means to be scared. Through going back and forth from present time to when the Crain children lived in the Hill House, Flanagan was able to show viewers how the Hill House terrifies each and every Crain when they all lived in the house and also when they have completely moved out of the house. Flanagan shows how the Crain family are still haunted by their past.
Although the flashbacks help viewers understand just how horrific the Hill House is since it was these experiences that caused for each Crain family member to still be haunted during their adult lives outside of living in the house, it was difficult for the actors in the show to master.
“I think what I found most challenging about this show is that the… and that’s not per say the role, is that the story is so big,” Michiel Huisman (Steve Crain) said to Express.co.uk. “In the ten episodes there are so many flashbacks. Towards the end it gets complex. And there are so many time jumps and I think that was hard to keep track of that.”
Even amongst this difficulty, Huisman thinks that the show could possibly get a season two, if it is as big as a hit that it seems to be.
“We’re first going to wait and see how the audience responds and if it’s a success then I’m sure we’re going to talk about season two,” Huisman said.