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The Haunting of Hill House 2018 *****


Mike Flanagan’s reputation as a horror director was already on the rise when the chance to helm The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix came along. His work on Occulus and Ouija; Origin of Evil demonstrated that he could transcend small budgets and rigid genre conventions. But The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best shows on Netflix or any tv or streaming network; a sprawling ten episode chiller that cleverly reworks Shirley Jackson’s novel and characters into a very different but spiritually true shocker. Michail Huisman is the novelist who has made his reputation from debunking supernatural hauntings; his interest stems from an incident which affected his whole family as a child, with his sisters Olivia (Carla Gugiono) , Theodora and twins Nell and Luke. As adults, their lives are defined by the original hauntings, the details of which are not made explicit until the final episode. The Haunting of Hill House has an elaborate and ambitious structure, focusing on one character per episode until a stunning single-take episode six brings all the characters together for a funeral. Timothy Hutton does some great work as the patriarch, but the whole cast are uniformly stunning, the scares are genuine and consistent, and as a feat of storytelling, The Haunting of Hill House is a huge, magnificent piece of Gothic architecture.


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