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The Haunting of Hill House

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The Haunting of Hill House


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“Fear is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”

-Shirley Jackson

Horror stories are known for preying on the emotional sensitivities of most people. A good horror story knows how to exploit those sentiments, preying on the insecurities of even the most secure people.The Haunting of Hill House is that story.

 

The creator of the show, Mike Flanagan, adapted the story from the 1959 gothic horror novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. Flanagan is most known for Oculus, Hush, and Ouija: Origin of Evil-all of which are critically lauded.

 

Following the story of the Crain family, five children, Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke, and Nell, must deal with the aftermath of living in the most haunted house in America. The plot is the show’s crown jewel; its complexity holds the audience’s attention so that it does not feel like the story is being dragged on too long, yet it is not too complex to confuse them. Each episode is necessary to understand the story, as it offers an insight into the past of the Crains and their current state of affairs.

 

Though if there had to be one episode that stands out the most, it is episode 6 titled “Two Storm.” The excellent use of camera work and editing during the transitions from the storm of the family’s past to the storm of their present show one of the most fleshed-out episode in the series.

 

The writers of the show should be given their due credit for their devotion to the intricacies of the plot. The sublime writing coupled with the excellent directing and acting mold the show into a brilliant story of a family and the psychological effects of the environment in which they grow up in. The timelines of the past and the present that coincide with each other in each episode affirms the significance of environmental factors’ effects on an individual’s future. With such heavy emphasis on those, you almost forget you are watching a horror show (until the writers pull a jump scare on you and you are left with that very surprising reminder).

 

But that is exactly why Hill House is as successful as it is now. This psychological family drama hiding under the banner of a horror story preys on the emotions of the human psyche. The fascination for the macabre is surpassed by modern people’s attraction to human psychology. The show is more emotionally-driven than the dramas on cable TV or HBO or even Netflix. It covers issues about family, loss, grief, and growing up. In other words, it does not so much as scare you, as it aims to actually make you cry.

 

It is also worth noting that Netflix approved of a fan theory about the five Crain children as symbols of the five stages of grief. Steven is denial, being the most detached from his past; Shirley is anger; Theo is bargaining; Luke is depression; Nell is acceptance.

 

The Haunting of Hill House delivers a powerful story about love and loss and how it feels to grow up in the most haunted house of America.

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The Haunting of Hill House