Netflix the Haunting of Hill House Re-Imagines a Classic Tale of Horror
Flip This House
Already a famous tale of horror and two movies, when Netflix planned to do their own adaption of a modern re-imagining of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting Of Hill House, fans were drawn.
In the Halloween season, rehashing of the same old tales in a new package sometimes are hit or miss when it comes to creativity and originality. You have to hand it to Netflix on this one, as the product delivered shares so much in common with the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, yet so much has changed to shape it into a totally new presentation that lures in fans that are not familiar with the book just as much as it pulls in those that grew up under its influence.
While the spooky old mansion remains the same, more focus in the books and movies have to deal with after the events as the investigation of the property leads to uncovering the truth about the many. many ghosts that are underfoot all over the home and buried inside the walls themselves.
Netflix chose to go a different direction not showcasing so much of the ghosts themselves saying that the house liked to devour life and even though at its heart it is a ghost story, it starts with the Crain family and their young kids moving into the home for the summer in hopes to renovate and flip the property by the time the children would be back in school.
Advised by the caretakers this was not a good place, the Hill House eventually takes it toll on the sanity of the family.
Unwrapping the tale from a series of flashbacks on two time lines, the story revisits the children as adults and features how the events they faced as children shaped the trials they face today; depression, anxiety, drug addiction, adultery.
Their mother was the first sacrifice of the Crain family, convinced that she was protecting the family from what was outside the walls of the house by making sure they died- their father was able to take the children away but it cost them everything.
The ten episodes explain the toll it played on each child and they eventually have to go back to the source to understand everything.
The events that last night in Hill House take a toll on everyone in the family and no one remembers quite the same thing, only pieces that make up the true events the night Olivia Crain was said to kill herself after killing the Dudley girl and trying to take the lives of her twins in the Red Room.
Although she was the younger twin, Nellie was always Luke's big sister in many ways.
Moving into the house when they were just six years old, Nellie was the first one to experience the ghostly events that took place in Hill House, though watching in the background of most scenes there are shadows, faces, or other presence of the ghosts around far before one realizes what they are watching for.
Nellie senses there is something wrong with the house and begins to tell her parents of a "Bent Neck Lady" that hovers over her in her bed or stares at her from the darkness. Her parents don't think much of this and explain to their daughter she is just imagining things though her depictions of the woman with the broken neck are just creepy.
As an adult, Nellie still sees the woman as she struggles through night terrors and sleep paralysis. She is on medication from a psychologist, but it is only making her worse. Then Nellie meets the love of her life and everything seems to go away.
After eight months of blissful marriage, Nellie sees the woman again on the night that her husband passes away.
Only to realize in the end after her own accident is considered suicide, Nellie has been seeing her own dead body coming to visit her, thus haunting herself since Hill House adding a twist to the great reveal.
Seeing The Bent Neck Lady since childhood, Nellie realizes when she returns to Hill House that all this time she has been seeing her own death and own body visiting her. After she dies, she appears to other members of the family, especially her twin, Luke, as she tries to warn him of his own death as he returns to the house.
Since the death of their mother and being taken from their father at a young age, Luke never really understands what his father was hiding about the last night in Hill House. He struggles much more than many of the other kids and instead of depression, his finds release in drug use to get the image of the Tall Man that he has seen all his life out of his head.
Luke, like Nellie revisits the house as an adult. After seeing Nellie as a ghost, Luke takes off with his sister's car and another sibling's credit card to get back to Hill House where he hopes to burn down the place that claimed the life of his sister and his mother- only now to understand what had taken place the night that his mother died.
Luke sees that he was lured into the always locked Red Room by his mother hoping to feed the twins rat poison to give them peace in death as suggested by one of the ghosts, Poppy.
The twins are saved that night from their mother, but Luke only suffers throughout his life going in and out of rehab and eventually is found in the Red Room overdosing as he has been tricked into shooting rat poison into his arm.
Nellie's ghost drags him back to life.
Almost dying twice to the rat poison, Luke escapes being poisoned once by his mother only to spend his adult years as a drug addict. When he revisits the house, it commands him to inject the rat poison into his veins and he almost dies again, fortunately Nellie was watching over him.
The Red Room was something different to everyone in the house, calling out to them offering a secret place of sanctuary.
For Olivia it was a reading room, Luke thought it was a tree house, Stevie played his video games there, and for Theodora it was a dance studio.
From a young age, her mother knew that the gift of preconception that other women in the family had, was upon Theo as she screamed when anyone touched her. Being an empath helped tremendously in her work as a child psychologist, but kept her from ever really connecting with other people.
This made her bitter and she came off cold to her family.
Wearing gloves to avoid touching people directly seemed to help, but the terrors of what happened in Hill House wasn't something that could be avoided once Theodora started to see the truth.
Steve And Shirley
The oldest two siblings, Steve and Shirley are close to the same character in the challenges they faced.
While Shirley had seen evil in the house and refused to give into death eventually becoming a funeral director, Steve profited from his family's experience and wrote a book about the death of their mother. Then he wrote about other people's experiences with the supernatural but he claimed that he never believed them.
His denial of what really happened and his exploitation of the others for a buck, Steve is one of the only siblings that never had a paranormal experience in the house until the last night that he blocked from his mind.
Going back with his father, the night that Luke tried to burn down the house, Steve finally understands what has taken place and what he blocked out.
The changes made to the story make The Haunting Of Hill House feel fresh and new and it is really as good as the hype suggests.
I do hope though that Netflix doesn't bank of the popularity of the show to make a second season as there is really no more need to tell any stories about the world they have created so well the first time around.
This story began and ended with the Crains. There are still siblings alive sure, but let them finally have the peace that their mother was trying to grant them.