Halloween is this Wednesday and that means scary movies and tv shows will be streamed like never before. This Halloween, however, there is a new show on the block that is sure to give you the creeps: “The Haunting of Hill House.” If you haven’t seen it already, it’s a must-watch that is just as great as the scariest horror movies out there.
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“The Haunting of Hill House” follows the lives of a family consisting of five children – Steve, Shirley, Theodora, Nellie and Luke – and their adult lives after living in a haunted house when they were children. The house comes back to haunt them in other ways when the show begins, and eventually draws them back to the house by the end, when death strikes two members of the family. Each child has a spirit that haunts them and, when the family is brought together, so are the spirits. The show also plays with the idea of time as a cyclical element, rather than a linear one, and jumps around in moments in time in order to tell a slightly different angle of the story depending on who or what the focus of the particular episode is. The end of the show doesn’t leave off on a cliffhanger, but actually leaves a pleasant end to the terrifying series of events that precede it for the most part. However, there is always room for more spirits in Hill House, so the viewer is left wondering about a possible sequel. However, what truly takes the cake in this show is the execution of horror elements that send a chill down the spine of all who watch it.
The ghouls in this show are anything but poorly implemented, and, if you don’t like jump scares, this show is for you, because there is hardly ever jump scares as the show relies heavily upon the creepy elements rather than typical shock factors. Also, the creepiness that radiates from the house, such as its overall look and all of the little creepy things that happen while the family is there, keeps you glued to the screen and creeped out to the max. The show does a fantastic job of creating mood with the color schemes and music, which complement the action on screen when necessary without impeding on the effect too much, which is something that scary movies sometimes rely too heavily upon. There are multiple chunks of silence when tension is being built, which is a brilliant strategy when thrilling an audience because the anticipation of a sound or movement heightens with every second that passes. This tension is broken generally by creepy background characters or something else that is not drastic, which is a plus for people who hate jump scares and adds an element of realism to the scenes as well as an ominous feeling that you’re always being watched, even when you least expect it. The colors that are used to contrast the past from the present are also really well executed in a way that allows the viewer to clearly distinguish between past and present and sways what the viewer is feeling to fit the tone and mood of the scene in particular. There are also lots of details in this show that are really interesting, such as the professions of the children, including a child therapist, a funeral-home owner and an author, which make perfect sense when the episode that focuses on them gives us an insight to what their childhood was like and why they think and act the way they do. Talk about an exploration into psychology!
Photo courtesy of LaShauna Bell
If none of this was enough for you, let’s dive into the themes that this show deals with, which are creepy in a completely different way. Not because they are speckled with ghouls, but because they are all too real to every human being. “The Haunting of Hill House” tackles the chore of contemplating what death is, what comes with death, mental illness, the existence of ghosts, addiction, adultery, the passage of time, alcoholism, awakening, the importance of family, what is real versus what is imaginary, what truth is and so much more. The characters and what they go through is relatable to viewers because they are human and real, which makes the story hit deeper into the hearts of everyone who watches. This show also does a really great job of layering each character, so, even if you aren’t a funeral home owner and have no desire to become one, you can relate to the character in some way, and this is accomplished in every person in the show. If the characters still aren’t interesting enough in this way, stars like Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Kate Siegel, Elizabeth Reaser, Timothy Hutton, James Lafferty (Nathan Scott for all of you “One Tree Hill” fans out there) and many more, all appear in the show.
Even if you don’t like scary movies or tv shows, I suggest watching this one because there are so many cool elements to it that make it appealing to a massive array of people. “The Haunting of Hill House” has it all and will make the perfect addition to your Halloween festivities this year!