Like many people Netflix has bummed me out with a lot of the syndicated shows it’s dropped over the years. They want most of their content to be “Netflix Original’s” and who can blame them? I really can’t because every now and again they drop something like “The Haunting Of Hill House”. To be clear I’ve seen more than my share of the horror genre and while I appreciate it for what it is, in general I’m very specific about what I like. Most horror content is predictable for me and when a series bases it’s entire climax on suspense and I already know beat for beat what’s going to happen……the joy is simply lost on me.
“The Haunting of Hill House” is a very slow burn. It’s not intended to make you jump (though you might) and doesn’t capitalize on the concept of cheap thrills. It’s unveiling a story of a family told to you in two timelines. As the short series progresses you learn more and more about the character’s in today’s timeline and in the past. The show rewards you with new information regularly, but also is keen on little payoffs, which is ultimately satisfying. It’s not a race to the finish, you get to savor every eerie and often sad moment of story telling.
Films and shows often struggle when time hopping. It can be difficult to keep things straight and avoid confusing the casual viewer, but often it can feel like two different stories you are watching, and even characters. That doesn’t happen here. It switches back and forth seamlessly and there’s never a question that the characters are the same along with the connection to the house.
The casting is spot on save perhaps one character, which is a win. Each younger and older version is similar down to some very specific idiosyncrasies, but like most things in this tale everything means something and nothing is without well thought out intent.
You don’t have to be a horror fan to enjoy this series. Not to worry, it’s not a Halloween themed show. It’s release was just in time for Spooktober but you can catch the series anytime this year. There isn’t enough scary to give you nightmares, but there is an incredible build of suspense and desire to know everything about the house and it’s inhabitants. After you watch you’ll feel compelled to start this series right over and look for anything you missed. This is a big thumbs up for me. Hopefully Netflix will do a second season of “The Haunting of Hill House” with a new family and new story.