The Haunting of Hill House is an American anthology supernatural horror drama web television series created and directed by Mike Flanagan, and produced by Amblin Television and Paramount Television, for Netflix. The first season is loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The plot alternates between two timelines, following five adult siblings whose paranormal experiences at Hill House continue to haunt them in the present day, and flashbacks depicting events leading up to the eventful night in 1992 when the family fled from the mansion. The ensemble cast features Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, and Victoria Pedretti as the adult counterparts of the siblings, with Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas as parents Olivia and Hugh Crain, and Timothy Hutton appearing as an older version of Hugh.
The series premiered on Netflix on October 12, 2018. The Haunting of Hill House received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, directing and production values, with many calling it an "effective ghost story." A second season with a different story and characters, titled The Haunting Of Bly Manor and based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, is set to be released in 2020.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
In the summer of 1992, Hugh and Olivia Crain and their children - Steven "Steve", Shirley "Shirl", Theodora "Theo", Luke, and Eleanor "Nell" - move into Hill House to renovate the mansion in order to sell it and build their own house, designed by Olivia. However, due to unexpected repairs, they have to stay longer, and they begin to experience increasing paranormal phenomena, resulting in a tragic loss and the family fleeing from the house. Twenty-six years later, the Crain siblings and their estranged father reunite after tragedy strikes again, and they are forced to confront how their time in Hill House has affected each of them.
Cast[edit | edit source]
Main[edit | edit source]
- Michiel Huisman as Steven Crain, the eldest son of the family. He became a famous author after writing about his family's experiences at Hill House, despite his siblings' disapproval.
- Paxton Singleton portrays a young Steven.
- Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain, the matriarch of the family, who designs houses. She, along with her daughter Nell, is among the most affected by the paranormal activity in the house.
- Henry Thomas as Hugh Crain, the father of the family, who flips houses. He becomes estranged from his children after the events at Hill House.
- Timothy Hutton portrays an older Hugh.
- Elizabeth Reaser as Shirley Crain Harris, the eldest daughter of the family. She owns a mortuary with her husband Kevin. They have a son and a daughter.
- Lulu Wilson portrays a younger Shirley.
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Luke Crain, older twin of Nell and one of the two youngest members of the family. He struggles with addiction as an adult to push out his memories of Hill House.
- Julian Hilliard portrays a younger Luke.
- Kate Siegel as Theodora "Theo" Crain, the middle child of the five, and a child psychologist. "Sensitive" like her mother, she wears gloves to prevent touching other people and experiencing psychic knowledge about them.
- Mckenna Grace portrays a younger Theo.
- Victoria Pedretti as Eleanor "Nell" Crain Vance, Luke's younger twin and one of the two youngest members of the family. She has never fully recovered from the haunting she experienced while living in Hill House.
- Violet McGraw portrays a younger Nell.
Recurring[edit | edit source]
- Annabeth Gish as Clara Dudley. She and her husband are the caretakers of the house and help the Crains in their efforts to revamp the mansion.
- Anthony Ruivivar as Kevin Harris, Shirley's husband.
- Samantha Sloyan as Leigh Crain, Steven's wife.
- Robert Longstreet as Horace Dudley. He and his wife are the caretakers of the house and help the Crains in their efforts to revamp the mansion.
- Levy Tran as Trish Park, Theo's girlfriend.
- James Lafferty as Ryan Quale, an apparition from Shirley's memory.
- Jordane Christie as Arthur Vance, Nell's sleep technologist and later husband.
- Elizabeth Becka as Aunt Janet, sister of Olivia Crain.
- Logan Medina as Jayden Harris, son of Shirley and Kevin.
- May Badr as Allie Harris, daughter of Shirley and Kevin.
- Anna Enger as Joey, a recovering addict that Luke tries to help.
- Fedor Steer as William Hill, former owner of Hill House who went insane and bricked himself behind a wall.
- He appears as Tall Man / Bowler Hat Man.
- Olive Elise Abercrombie as Abigail, young Luke's friend from the woods.
- Catherine Parker as Poppy Hill, one of the ghosts inhabiting Hill House, wife of William Hill and considered insane when alive.
- Mimi Gould as Hazel Hill, one of the ghosts inhabiting Hill House.
- James Flanagan as Funeral Director
Episodes[edit | edit source]
Episodes of the first season include:
- Episode 1, Steven Sees a Ghost, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 2, Open Casket, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 3, Touch, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 4, The Twin Thing, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 5, The Bent-Neck Lady, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 6, Two Storms, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 7, Eulogy, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 8, Witness Marks, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 9, Screaming Meemies, written by Mike Flanagan
- Episode 10, Silence Lay Steadily, written by Mike Flanagan
Development and production[edit | edit source]
On April 10, 2017, Netflix announced that it had ordered a 10-episode adaptation of the classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, with Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy as executive producers, and Amblin Television and Paramount Television as co-production companies. It is the first scripted series to be made for Netflix by Amblin.
Production on the series began in October 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, with location filming in the city and its environs. Bisham Manor, former name of the property located in LaGrange, served as the exterior of "Hill House." The house's interior settings were filmed at EUE/Screen Gem Studios in Atlanta.
Second season[edit | edit source]
In October 2018, Mike Flanagan said that a possible second season would not continue the story of the Crain family, specifying, "it's done."
On February 21, 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a second season as an anthology series, titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, and based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. It is set to premiere in 2020.
Reception[edit | edit source]
On Rotten Tomatoes, The Haunting of Hill House has a 93% "certified fresh" rating based on 94 reviews, with an average rating of 8.41/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Haunting of Hill House is an effective ghost story whose steadily mounting anticipation is just as satisfying as its chilling payoff." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Corrine Corrodus of The Telegraph graded the series with a 5/5 rating, calling it "the most complex and complete horror series of its time." Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave unanimous praise to the Netflix adaptation, describing it as "essential viewing," and stated that "[the show] contains some of the most unforgettable horror imagery in film or television in years." David Griffin of IGN gave the series a rating of 9.5 out of 10, calling it "a superb and terrifying family drama," and Paul Tassi of Forbes described it "absolutely fantastic" and stated that "it may actually be Netflix's best original show ever."
Horror author Stephen King, who holds considerable admiration for Jackson's novel, tweeted about the series, "I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure."
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, in interview with The Jerusalem Post said, "My favorite Netflix series, with no competition, is The Haunting of Hill House."