Small Screen Scares

Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House offers scary good television

Small Screen Scares

Christina Smith, Special Contributor

Real fear is subtle.  It sneaks into your periphery and slowly saturates the air that surrounds you until you finally realize that death is upon you… and you let it in.  You freeze. All of your vulnerabilities come to the surface. “Fight or flight” escapes you as you become paralyzed with this fear–one so incremental that its appearance is more than a surprise to you: its stealth is so shocking that you finally understand what real fear is.

This is how I felt while watching The Haunting of Hill House, the new ten-episode television series on Netflix. Anyone who knows me understands that I do not scare easy.  In fact, I probably play a role of villian in many people’s nightmares. However, for the first time in long time, I felt fear.

In fact, I was so startled in the “Bent-Neck Lady” episode that I exploded from my seat and nearly cowered in fear and my husband grounded me from watching any more episodes that night.  Instead of listening, I was so addicted to the suspense of the show that I snuck out of bed and binged the next three episodes. With each episode, I fell deeper into despair and paralysis but I couldn’t stop, I had to see what was creating the apparitions. I had to know who was the bent neck lady. I had to learn what was causing the black mold.

The premise of the show The Haunting of Hill House is pretty simple.  There is a married couple, the Crains, with five children who buy houses that need fixing up and then flip them for a profit.  The happy family is able to buy the Hill house for a steal and are planning to live there for the summer while they remodel it.  There is one problem, or many problems depending upon how you look at it, something is not right with the Hill house.

Minor spoilers ahead***** Stop reading and go watch the t.v. series first!

Jump forward twenty six years and the series actually starts in the future and follows the five Crain children who are dealing with the after affects of that summer and the ultimate death of their mother in the Hill house. Each of the children were so broken by that event that they are struggling in their own way and are still dealing with the ramifications of the events in the Hill house 26 years ago. The oldest brother wrote a horror novel loosely based on the events which pissed off the rest of the siblings. Dad dumped the kids with his wife’s sister after her death for their “safety” and so that relationship is fractured.  The oldest sister owns and live in a mortuary. Middle sister likes to sleep around but weirdly always wears gloves and the twins, the twins are the most messed up and most loved.

Seems like a family drama or a typical messed up modern non-nuclear family.  But look closer. What is in the mirror, in the shadows, on the wall, in the corner?  It’s there, hiding. Suspense, scares, ghosts, mysteries and twist after twist that I never expected. You will be asking yourself what is real and what is not real?  You will wonder who is dead and who is alive? You will question who is crazy and who is sane. It was so good and so surprising that I watched it again and found things I did not see the first time.  Don’t love gore? Watch this show. Love gore? Watch this show? Don’t like to scary films? Watch this show. Loved to be scared? Watch this show.

Basically everyone should watch this or else you are missing out on one of the best things on television, ever. ​