The Haunting ★★★

I'm gonna keep this short as it could be taken off Letterboxd any day now.

The Haunting of Hill House is a difficult one. It's a drama disguised and sold as horror - though it's more complicated than that. My main issue is that Hill House is great drama, but very forgettable and generic horror. Ghost stories serve as great potential to intertwine stories of family, memory, and grief - but sometimes the attempt to install fear just isn't necessary.

Hill House has great potential and I believe that Mike Flanagan is capable of greater work if guided in the right direction. Episode five, six and ten are very well written drama - better than well-written drama, incredible drama. The music is satisfactory with the standout being that gorgeous heartbreaking piano piece. The characters have their strengths and weaknesses but are at their most substantial when together - which weakens the individual-character-path episode structure that covers most of the show. The biggest issue for me though is how much it could have been trimmed down - which is a major issue when considering this is already a ten episode series.

One other thing, Hill House often begins this potentially fascinating theme of personifying a house - it's often bought up in monologues by the mother, this idea of the house holding its own energy and its relationship with its inhabitants. Unfortunately, though this ever goes far.

This is sort of a mix of Six Feet Under and American Horror Story - the former being superb familial drama exploring grief, but also the latter being bland and over saturated horror that invokes interesting imagery but fails it's misguided focus on fear.

Alan liked this review