Haunting of Hill House: a Netflix original hit

A psychological horror that chills even the bravest to the bone


Rumor has it that the five Crain children each represent the five stages of grief.

Danielle Barnych, Staff Writer

Recently Netflix has seen an increasing demand for more of its Netflix Originals.  They have earned a competitive edge in the film-making industry by producing crowd favorites like Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and Mindhunter. A notable addition to this growing list is The Haunting of Hill House based off the original novel by Shirley Jackson.

The story follows the Crain family consisting of main characters Hugh and Olivia Crain and their five children, Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke and Nell. Hugh works as a house-flipper and his wife Olivia assists him and even designs houses for Hugh to build. As a team they work from home and raise their five energetic children. They score a great deal on an abandoned mansion in the woods and decide during the summertime to flip it and sell it later to build what Olivia later names “the forever house.” As they renovate the house, it begins to have a mind of its own, manifesting dark thoughts and hallucinations into the children and Olivia’s fragile minds. Hugh and Olivia are led to believe that they own the house, but they quickly realize that it is the other way around; the house owns them. Hugh, unable to come to grips with the supernatural elements of the house, is forced to make decisions that impact the children’s lives into adulthood, which we are lucky enough to witness.

The storyline throughout the series switches on and off between memories from the past and things happening in the present. The series itself consists of 10 episodes roughly lasting an hour each with every individual episode designated to one character and their past childhood memories at Hill house. In their adult lives, Stevie is an author with marriage problems who uses his books to cope with the ghosts he denies he saw in the house. Luke lives his life as a drug addict, constantly using heroin to deal with the haunting memories of Hill house. Shirley is a mortician, constantly angry at Stevie for profiting off their horrifying past. Theodora is a child psychologist who has special powers that allow her to feel things that aren’t there to the naked eye. She wears gloves 24/7 to avoid seeing things from the people closest to her, afraid of what those feelings might mean. Eleanor (Nell) has sleep paralysis and is haunted by her inevitable fate, not realizing what it is until it’s too late. Besides these details, the episodes dive in further, expanding upon the specific struggles the family deals with during adulthood to cope with the lasting horrors of the place they once called “home.”

To no significant surprise, this supernatural horror was rated 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and earned an 8.7/10 rating from IMDb. Of course, this number is only a statistic and it was the story of Hill house and its relatable characters that truly stunned audiences everywhere. When people normally think of horror, they assume it will be full of gore and blood and supernatural beings, but The Haunting of Hill House takes it to a whole other level. According to senior Madison Stites, “This show is one of the best Netflix Original series because it isn’t dragged on too long like other horror shows.” To add to this, senior Jasmine Barnych says, “It has a very developed storyline and the show allows you to feel the full spectrum of emotions.” Not only does it include supernatural ghosts and jump-scares, but it creates chilling scenes that are almost too relatable. The unique perspective of the Crain children growing up in Hill house adds an element of innocence that makes the audience more sympathetic towards their controversial adult lives. What’s most terrifying of all is the ways in which the characters are so normal that you can’t help but imagine yourself in their position.

It’s clear. The reviews are in and the numbers don’t lie. The next time you need a new series to watch on Netflix, consider The Haunting of Hill House as your top choice because the only thing scary about this series is how many times you’ll binge watch it (Okay I lied. Maybe there are a few other things scary about this series).