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While click bates claim The Haunting of Hill House is the scariest series of the year, the psychological thrills and spine chills outweigh the typical facade of a “horror story.” As time ceases to move in a linear manner, a family of five adult siblings struggle to connect their traumas and visions to the death of their mother in their childhood home. Red herrings are almost nonexistent as every layer of the story is dissected.

If you’re expecting the appeal of gore and jump scares for theatrical effect, you’d be unamused. The real haunt of the series is the threat of loose family ties and memories of the past demolishing one’s future. The intertwining of the two time periods—the siblings’ childhoods and their adult lives—forces viewers to reevaluate their conceptions of timelines and ghosts.

You’ll continuously sympathize with Olivia Crain, the mother, as her anxieties contort her view of death into visions of a sanctuary. Hill House presents itself as a safe haven for families throughout their time there, yet the house digests its guests instead of feeding into their happiness. Olivia’s children—Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke, and Nell—cannot recall the feelings of being, “like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster,” until Hill House integrates itself into every aspect of their lives, without them even stepping foot on the premises.

Each sibling has their distinct personality: Steven as a writer attempting to distance himself from his corrupt family; Shirley as a mortician obsessed with death and trying to raise her two children; Theo as a psychologist struggling with her romantic relationships and her heightened senses; Luke as a drug addict wanting to reconnect with his siblings; and Nell as a lost soul coping with the death of a loved one. Even though their bonds have been pulled apart, the five siblings work to heal each other. Dynamics often shift and clash, but the relationships throughout the series are electric.

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House will keep you engulfed in the lives of the Crain family. As each personal struggle develops a new secret to be known about the Crain family’s past, you’ll be left lingering, wanting to follow the lives of the siblings.

Erica Amdal

Augustana '22

My name is Erica Amdal. Aiming to major in Anthropology, I am intrigued by the values in societies and how humans are interconnected yet immensely diverse. I strive to immerse myself in different cultures to gain more insight on the colorful lives of other humans. Coinciding with my desire to study different cultures and their unique attributes, I am motivated and intrigued by the ability of people to interpret art in ways that adhere to their own lives, which influences my stylized approach in my own work.
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