The Haunting of Hill House and What It Means to Tell A Story

Warning: Spoilers for all who have not watched!

The Haunting of Hill House, aired in October 2018 with 10 episodes, is a complicated layer of vessels.

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Based on a book with the same name, it is a story filled with ghosts but not the ones that you would expect. This is because the creator, Mike Flanagan, is one of the best storytellers ever.

Hill House is marketed as horror but once we watch it, we get something else entirely other than just that. This story is one that you should pay attention to until the end, look for every ghost in every corner and take in the stories well. Rather than getting unnecessary jump scares, we get a plot that discusses grief and trauma among the Crain family.

As the title suggests, the show centers around the Hill House. The mom, in the story, later describes that the house is like a body. The metaphors behind every line and side-stories, which match well with the main stories of the children, are very well intended. Mike Flanagan truly brought up his story-telling gift in this one.

Quotes from show by Nell. 2018

Genre-Bending Horror

The first episode starts with the oldest of five children, Steven, comforting the youngest, Nellie. It also introduces us to the first and scariest ghost in the entire series the bent-neck lady.

Although it might get confusing if we don’t follow it well, everything will click in the end. The plot flows beautifully, a consistent rise of tension and stress that will eventually and slowly dissolve in the end.

There are two episodes that many praise as something so mind-blowing episodes 5 and 6. There is an infamous scene where the DP does the one-take for seventeen whole minutes. Every single person who has seen this scene has perhaps changed their perception of the horror genre.

The usage of cinematography techniques and props is very well praised. You can spot hidden ghosts in the background. Most of all, the story of the Crain family is perhaps the saddest one we ever know. This is why, even though the show is not the scariest thing we will see, it will feel as it is.

Steven quote from the show. 2018.

In the past few years, where grief and trauma have surrounded us, this show might be the one where we could see and feel ourselves in. We might be able to understand that not all ghosts are those we could sense so easily. We might also be able to recognize that the bad things we go through could maim us so relentlessly. 

Furthermore, one tiny detail that is very disturbing is this finding the 5 Crain siblings represent the 5 stages of grief. They also go in order. The oldest, Steve, represents denial. Shirley represents anger while Theo represents bargaining. Luke, on the other hand, represents depression. Nelle, the last one, represents acceptance.

The horror genre is one of the best genres to address grief and trauma. It is scary and uncomfortable, just like what it would be in real life. If you are going through this, you might find comfort, perhaps in the slightest, in this show.

Watch the trailer here and you can watch the show on Netflix right after.

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