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'The Haunting of Hill House'

A Dissection, Not a Review

Yesterday I was scrolling through Netflix when I finally decided to give The Haunting of Hill House a chance, only after watching the trailer for it a dozen times. Six episodes later, I decided to call it a night. I couldn't tell if I liked it or if I didn't, so instead of posting another review, I guess I'd rather ask questions about it. Spoilers ahead.

Mind you, I haven't finished the show, and really just want to take a beat to see if I'm the only one who doesn't understand some of its dynamics so far. There are some members of the cast that I recognize (i.e. Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, etc.) and some that I don't, which is fine. My only thing is I'm not sure how I feel about the flow of the characters.

For example, the fact that Henry Thomas is only 10 years younger than Timothy Hutton does make me scratch my head a bit. Only because the show takes place over a span of approximately 30 years and the character of Hugh Crane doesn't seemed to have aged much. (Who knows? Maybe they could address that as a side plot.)

In the episode "Two Storms," all the members of the Crane family are brought back together after what seems like years of being apart. Everyone is devastated by the loss of Nell, and are repressing what they really want to say to each other. Several times the episode bounces back and forth between the present in Shirley's funeral home to when they all were living back at Hill House when they were kids, all the while filmed in a 360 degree pan shot.

This episode was probably the toughest to digest because it seemed like Hugh was hallucinating between his daughter's death and back to a storm at Hill House when his wife seemed to be in a sort of trance. It just went back and forth to the point where I couldn't wrap my head around what was going on.

Another thing I'm not fully understanding is that Olivia Crane mentioned to her daughter Theo that she, like her grandmother, is "sensitive" to possibly the paranormal. She gives Theo gloves so that she's less likely to feel what others feel around her, and says that she's been watching her and her sisters to see if they too are "sensitive," which they appear to be. She makes it seem like only the women in the family are susceptible to these gifts, and yet Steven was able to see Nell in his apartment minutes after she died and Luke too had a "sense" she was dead although he didn't know it.

Granted this could be part of the "twin thing" that both Nell and Luke refer to their connection because Nell has a gift, and so does Luke. But Steven and Hugh? The patriarch seems to be able to talk to Olivia, even in death, which could either be because their marriage makes him an anchor for her to still be around or because he too is descended from people with gifts. In any case I'm sure this will be referred to once I finish the season.

I'm not gonna lie, however, when I already feel something is off with Mrs. Dudley's character. She was really stern with Luke, tried to force her religion on Steven, and yet, gave Nell special treatment? Clearly she knows more than she's letting on, even before Theo touched her arm and sensed her fear.

Finally, what I want to touch on is Nell's death, because it seems less of a haunting, and more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. She was haunted by the bent neck lady as a child, when she bought Luke drugs and when Arthur died, but it turns out to be her? I guess it's difficult to see where the show is going with this because Nell didn't commit suicide and was only drawn back to the house to confront her demons after suffering so much trauma. And now she's stuck on the other side I'm guessing?

Even if I somehow make it to the end of the season... Lord only knows if I'm up for watching season two.

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