'The Haunting of Hill House': What can you expect from Netflix's highly-anticipated horror series
The highly-anticipated horror series is all set to hit Netflix's streaming service on October 12. Here's what you can expect.
To many October is their favorite time of the year, for different reasons of course. For some, it's because Fall is in full swing; the streets are lined with leaves, the weather is the right amount of chilly, and the holiday season is just around the corner. For others, it's because Halloween is within touching distance. Whether it's the costumes, the trick-or-treating, the jack-o'-lanterns, the apple bobbing, the bonfires, or the pranks, there's something for everybody. And of course, how can we forget the most important tradition? Visiting haunted houses!
But if you're one of those who doesn't have the privilege of scrounging through the local haunted abode, you'll just have to make do with the abundance of horror movies and television series that are set to hit your screens this month. There's the highly-anticipated David Gordon Green-directed slasher film 'Halloween,' or Italian-American horror film 'Suspiria,' and if you're not the movie kind of person, Netflix, Hulu, and all the other streaming services have a plethora of original content headed towards them as well.
It's one of these shows that's caught our attention, in fact. 'The Haunting of Hill House' is scheduled to air on Netflix on October 12, and it's already creating quite the buzz around town. Based on Shirley Jackson's seminal 1959 gothic-horror novel of the same, the series has critics raving, with many hailing it as the series to watch out for this month. The fact is, however, that Jackson's work has long been considered one of the best literary ghost stories published in the 20th century and has already been made into two feature films and a play; so, what makes this rendition so different?
For one, those who have read the novel have probably come to the realization that Netflix's version bears almost no resemblance to Jackson's novel. The teaser promo and the trailer both indicate that the series will follow a family of seven as they experience the terrors hidden inside the walls of the iconic Hill House, fighting for their sanity as well as their lives.
Jackson's novel concerned just four main characters: Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the supernatural; Eleanor Vance, a shy young woman who resents having lived as a recluse caring for her demanding invalid mother; Theodora, a flamboyant, bohemian, and possibly lesbian artist; and Luke Sanderson, the young heir to the eighty-year-old mansion.
Compare that to Netflix's official description and the difference is night and day. Director Mike Flanagan's modern reimagining will follow the story of "a group of siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past — some of which still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House."
Besides the little snapshots, we see in those small trailers, the streaming service has remained tight-lipped about how the series will shape up, possibly in a bid to build anticipation as its release nears. However, continuing its slow drip of teasers, a featurette uploaded on their YouTube channel two days ago revealed some of Flanagan's insights and how he approached its direction, as well as some of the actors' comments.
He revealed how he would be approaching the series from a different angle compared to a full-length feature. "In 90 minutes, you can get away with scaring people three or four times. For something like this, for over ten hours, the rules are very different," he says. "I want to build a sense of tension and to sustain it for as long as possible."
He also talked about how the horror has changed over the years, possibly indicating how 'The Haunting of Hill House' would not conform to the traditional standards. "Horror is changing. It got to the point where the genre was content just to startle people. Now, we're seeing that audiences are much more sophisticated. For our show, I want to go back to a time when horror was much more profound than being just afraid," he explained.
The reviews — which are glowing and have seen it rated 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes — seem to all but confirm the notion that the series will be nothing like anything we've seen before. The Verge wrote, "But it's a series that will stick in people's minds - not because of the familiar things it does, but for all the things it dares to do differently."
Digital Spy similarly raved, "This is a new version of 'The Haunting' for a new time when the term 'ghosting' means something else entirely, and, although it's not always completely successful in its balancing of horror and heart." Slashfilm expressed a similar opinion, writing, "'The Haunting of Hill House' is a frequently scary, surprisingly emotional saga focused on both past and present. Director Mike Flanagan takes Shirley Jackson's iconic haunted house novel and works into something wholly different, yet equally effective."
'The Haunting of Hill House' has been described by Flanagan as a "truly complex human story that happens to be wrapped in the skin of horror," and we're inclined to believe him.
Watch the trailer to 'The Haunting of Hill House' here: