Hill House, the classic ghost story that first appeared in 1959 and inspired countless other writers, is now being told on Netflix with a new ten-episode series. Like its source novel, the show takes the haunted house trope and uses it to explore grief and trauma through a series of personal stories.
The Haunting of Hill House is a supernatural thriller that follows four people who spend a summer at a house infamous for its eerie activities. Dr. John Montague, an occult scholar, invites Eleanor Vance and Theodora to join him at Hill House in order to investigate the paranormal activity that has taken place in the building.
At first, the characters don’t realize that their stay at Hill House is destined to be a spooky one. But when written messages start appearing on the walls, and doors open and close without reason, they begin to realize that something is off about this mansion.
It’s not long before all the members of the Crain family have experiences that are similar to those they had at Hill House: a hand that isn’t human reaches out to them; the house becomes full of acrid smoke; phantom cats snarl and growl; they see things that shouldn’t be there.
But while it’s clear that some members of the Crain family are more susceptible than others, it’s hard to tell exactly why. Olivia, for example, succumbed to the corrupting influence of Hill House while Nell remained relatively unaffected.
Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House is remarkably nuanced, and its themes are both subtle and profound. The series doesn’t shy away from tackling the difficult topics of grief and trauma, which is perhaps its most powerful element.
In fact, it’s a theme that’s underlying the entire series. Grief and trauma are both a part of everyone’s lives, but they can be especially tough to deal with when they affect you as a child.
The Haunting of Hill house tackles these issues head on, highlighting that each person’s response to trauma is different. It also shows that while it can be devastating to lose a loved one, it doesn’t have to destroy you.
For anyone who is struggling to cope with grief or trauma, the series is a welcome relief. It is a bold, harrowing depiction of these issues, but one that offers hope and healing.
At its core, The Haunting of Hill House is based on the idea that grief originates from childhood trauma. While it won’t work for every person, it is a valid point of view that has been explored in many ways by Sigmund Freud and others.
This is a metaphor for the way our childhoods can wreak havoc on our mental health and even shape the way we live our lives. It’s a piercing reminder that we are all vulnerable and prone to falling prey to the dark side of humanity, but it also demonstrates how important it is to find love and support.