We’re back with our Nerds Gets Spooky series, where we explore the best television show episodes and movies to be watching this spooky season. Today, we’re going to be exploring The Haunting of Hill House, which is a perfect watch for the lead up to Halloween. The Haunting of Hill House is definitely not a watch for the faint-hearted. The spine-chilling ghost story will have you not wanting to turn out the light to go to sleep. There are jump-scares galore which will have you reaching for a cushion to hide behind.
The Haunting of Hill House follows the Crain family as the two parents and five children move into Hill House with the plan to renovate and sell it. However, the longer they stay, the more supernatural occurrences begin to happen. The plot switches between the children’s childhood recollections of their summer in the house and the modern day as the house continues to haunt their lives.
This recommendation may seem very odd coming from me, someone who usually hates the horror genre, especially ghost stories. However, I managed to put aside my fear for this series purely because of how incredible and clever the plot is. Each episode focuses on a different characters’ perspective. This allows the audience to really connect with each family member. Despite being a terrifying ghost story, it also really delves into family dynamics. Unlike most horror movies, you genuinely come to care about each family member and their individual story. I found myself rather emotional once the series was over, which was something I did not expect at all going into this series.
Whilst exploring each characters’ story, the narrative also revisits key plot points (particularly from the childrens’ childhood) from each character’s perspective. This circular narrative allows the story to be revealed inch by creepy inch as the interwoven threads of the plot finally begin to reveal the bigger picture.
The fear and emotion behind the story is only enhanced by the incredible cast. It features the likes of Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Kate Siegel (Hush), Elizabeth Reaser (Twilight), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man) and Henry Thomas (E.T.) However, the two stand out performances to me are Victoria Pedretti (You) and Carla Gugino (Spy Kids). Pedretti perfectly portrays Nell Crain, who as a child seems to be targeted by one particular ghost, The Bent-Neck Lady. Pedretti perfectly portrays the trauma that Nell faces into adulthood as she is still haunted by this spectre. Gugino plays her mother, Olivia, who at first plays the comforting matriarch. However, Olivia has some psychic abilities, and the longer they remain in the house, the more she is affected and the more detached and unhinged she becomes. Gugino plays this descent into madness perfectly.
The Haunting of Hill House is perfect to watch on the run up to Halloween. The 10 episodes each last between 40-70 minutes. This makes it a great series to watch a little of every night or even to binge-watch over Halloween weekend. The complexity of the plot also makes it extremely rewatchable, as you are guaranteed to pick up on nuances that you missed the first time.
All episodes of The Haunting of Hill House are available to watch now on Netflix. If you enjoy the series, I would also highly recommend Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor and the slightly less scary (in my opinion) Midnight Mass. Also make sure to check back with Nerds & Beyond for the rest of our Nerds Gets Spooky series!