TV Review: The Haunting of Hill House (2018) – Episodes 1-10

Hill HOuse 1Everyone needs a forever home…

Stars:  Mckenna Grace, Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Timothy Hutton, Kate Siegel, Elizabeth Reaser
Mike Flanagan

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Here we find the story of the Crane family, a couple with their 5 children, who frequently move around flipping houses aiming toward their ultimate goal of one day building their forever home. This is how they ended up in Hill House, so named for the family who built and resided in the house previously, with the intentions on this mansion being their final flip. What they find instead is a house that has strange rooms, strange noises, ghostly figures, an unopenable ‘red room’ and one hell of a statue collection. And as with any horror style premise, everything gets stranger before coming to a head in one terror filled night that continues to haunt the family members (literally) right into their adult hood.

This story, told over 10 almost hour-long episodes, is set in both the now/adult timeline as well as the childhood/residing in the house timelines. As for the episodes themselves, the majority are told in a fragmented and semi-chronological way which never really is apparent until suddenly two events you have watched separately link up and you release it was actually all overlapping and interchanging like pieces of a giant puzzle or blueprint that are slowing forming one big picture. The fact that the characters themselves are extremely interesting both as children and adults, who were all affected in different ways by the events that occurred, made it so easy to want to watch and hear and learn all the story and the events and try and guess what ultimately happened.Hill House 3This is aided in a huge way by the outstanding casting because everyone, especially the children, are so fantastic to watch. Starting with expressing their innocence as children then the pain/anger as adults but most importantly the fear/terror was believable in every situation both as children and adults. I didn’t ever find myself rolling my eyes or cringing which was a pleasant change. I mean, sure, there were the standard moments where they were exploring an area alone or going into a certain room where you knew no normal person in that situation would go but it made for good viewing, so I don’t criticise for that, just yell at the screen like any normal horror watcher.

Now for the Horror itself. This show was trailered exceptionally well as a horror, there is haunting in the title and it’s based on a horror book of the same title, so I went in excited to watch but hesitant to get my hopes up as I have been so disappointed by horror in the past. I’m so, so happy to report, it’s really well done and that I literally jumped once possibly twice for which I applaud the creators. The tension and suspense were fantastic and never felt overdone or unnecessary with the resulting moments truly being very creepy on occasion. However, while I will happily declare this a horror show, it is also very much a drama with a lot of focus on the characters and their stories/lives in the present day. It balanced it out really well with the drama allowing you to feel for characters and get absorbed in their present-day stories before pulling you back in for a quick reminder that yes, it is a horror show and you best not get too comfortable. I honestly think if they had tried to make it more darker/scarier than it was it would have felt too forced and started to become annoying.Hill HOuse 2

Overall, I enjoyed every minute of my 10-episode binge watch and yes, I’m at that point where I wish I hadn’t watched so fast so there was still more to go. As for a final little comment, I wanted to mention my hands down favourite thing about this show which were the so subtle you only just notice them faces & people in the background. I spent most of the series convinced I was imagining things that weren’t there as they are so brief and fleeting and never any part of the main focus in the scene just a nice little ‘what the hell is that’ in the background. There is finally a point where it is obvious it wasn’t me going crazy and it was intentional and all part of the Hill House but damn if it isn’t clever and even had me second guessing a couple of shadows in my house after watching.

My Score:  9/10

Watch If You Like:  Anything horror but also like it to have story and feeling and not just be about the jump scares. But serious, if you like horror check this out.

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