I decided to check out this Netflix TV show, because I became interested in everything that Mike Flannagan, the director of Doctor Sleep had done previous to that movie. And I must say; I’ve been pleasantly surprised. What I’ve seen from his work so far, has done nothing, but confirm what I already suspected; that what he did on Doctor Sleep wasn’t a one-off. His work on The Haunting of Hill House showcases, not only his skill as an accomplished filmmaker, writer and producer, but also as a masterful storyteller.
Based on the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson, which had been previously adapted to the big screen on two occasions, he gives the book a very interesting twist, using the main setting of the novel, The Haunted Hill House, but changing the characters, and adapting them to modern times, turning the story in a cross between a family drama, and a stylised haunted house tale.
Narrated in parallel, in two time periods; the past, in which a family of seven, the Cranes ( Hugh and Olivia Crane, and their five children, Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Nelly and Luke), move into the old and dilapidated titular mansion, in order to renovate, and resale it later at a higher price, discovering, to their surprise, that the old house has more terrible and terrifying secrets that they thought imaginable; and the present, in which the surviving members of that family are still dealing with the consequences of what they experienced inside those walls. What happened inside the House will have dire, and in some cases, tragic consequences for years to come. Supported by a very solid cast, strong scripts, and excellent production values, this is one of the best TV shows I’ve seen this year, and a very welcome surprise. The acting is superb, with a special mention to Carla Cugino, who once again demonstrates what a gifted actress she is. It also has some of the most unsettling and disturbing Horror imagery I’ve seen in some time. The ghosts appearance sequences are brilliantly staged and executed; the crooked neck Lady, and the Tall-floating man, are the stuff of nightmares. No wonder the twin brothers Nell and Luke end up being so psychologically damaged. Extremely creepy. The Cinematography is gorgeous, and the editing extremely inventive. Something that we’re used to from this filmmaker. Attention to episode 6 of the first season, a masterclass in filmmaking and storytelling technique. Excellent.
Thanks for reading.