Last year Netflix dropped the addictive, binge it all at once series, The Haunting of Hill House from writer-director Mike Flanagan. And now it comes home on blu-ray with extended episodes and commentary tracks to enhance the viewing experience as one of the most famous haunted house tales comes home in a new way.
Taking its inspiration from the iconic novel by Shirley Jackson, Flanagan crafts a ten episode (or ten hour film) that pays homage to its literary history while also telling an incredibly captivating and truly creepy tale.
Youtube videos aplenty surfaced after the series dropped of all the hidden ghosts that are littered throughout the show, and Flanagan in his commentary talks about this, and the need to make the series its own thing while embracing its past.
The story tracks the fallout of a family after they leave a haunted house, Hill House, and the narrative slips back and forth through time from the family taking possession of the house, to the impact that it has had on their lives, and continues to have as it draws them back for one final confrontation.
There are red herrings, or fake ghosts, as well as truly horrifying ones. there is heartbreak, terror, and solid cinematic storytelling, All of it is anchored with a brilliant cast who brings Flanagan’s tale to life.
Henry Thomas, Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Kate Siegel, Elizabeth Reaser and Timothy Hutton all turn in fantastic performances, joined by a slew of young actors who help bring the story to haunting life. The character arcs are plotted, episodes are given to specific characters so you see recurring scenes from different perspectives, and each one changes your perception of the story, the series, and the characters caught up in it. I LOVE IT!
It’s hard to keep the balance between drama, creeps and all-out scares in a standard film. This series does it for over ten episodes. And does it insanely well. This series whether taken singly or as one film is a stunning and amazing watch.
The reveals halfway through the season are heartbreaking, the attention to character and detail make the series all the more engaging and it lends itself to the rewatch because it lets you catch all the details you may have missed (including all the hidden ghosts).
Flanagan has become one of my favorite writer-directors, and I eagerly await his next effort, and cannot wait for the second season of this stellar series that sees Flanagan adapting Henry James Turn of the Screw into the Haunting of Hill House.
But before that comes along check out the first series available now on blu-ray from Paramount Canada. And make sure you check out the extended episodes and the accompanying commentaries.
If you like your scares smart, doled out at appropriate moments interwoven into an engaging and satisfying storyline, pick up this set, clear some time from your schedule and check it out!