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‘The Haunting Of The Hill House’ Has Changed Horror

Horror has been a seriously underrated genre for some time now. ‘Hill House’ has changed everything.

Credit: Netflix Studios

With ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ being on the way, I deemed it appropriate to watch and address the quality of the 10 episode-long predecessor series. Now, the genre of Horror, which has largely been film-oriented for the majority of its lifespan, has not met the standards of critics. I can’t say I’m on that boat, as the average 7/10 rated Horror on IMBD is usually a very good film.

However, any shortcomings that may have existed in a 2-hour production, is addressed thoroughly in the Television Series era that we’re now in.

What is possible in 10 hours that isn’t in 2 hours? Story and character development are obvious examples, and both were extremely enticing in Hill House. Dedication to each character within the discombobulated, wonky timeline was surprisingly heartwrenching, because of the events in the first episode. A weird way to put it, but the only way I can think of, is that the show seemed to care for each of the characters, with absolutely no exceptions.

Any masterpiece of a film or show has to be a drama first, whatever the specific genre is. As much as I love Horror, very few tend to go by this. Not only is it essential to the quality of the production, but how do you scare people? You mix real with fantasy, blur the lines so seamlessly that a small part of you believes in the ghosts, the zombies, or the monster. The fact that The Haunting of the Hill House put so much effort into being grounded, was what made it such a fantastic series.

Every performance was notable, which is unfair because it means they’re not really notable. You must know what I mean. I cared for each one of the characters, and the younger versions embodied their adult counterparts exactly, where so many who try to achieve similar feats struggle. I racked my brains for a performance to talk about, and I barely could, but Carla Gugino and Kate Siegel were impeccable.

The emotion in the series is so well done. Who would have thought that in 10 hours of scares and tension that they would be able to squeeze in scenes that would make you weep internally? For me, Luke’s Speech in Eulogy (episode 7) and Nell’s soliloquy in the final episode were absolutely heartwrenching. Seeing the trauma between a group of people that actually felt like siblings, followed by these kinds of scenes magnified the emotional effect. That and the poignant piano notes that played (“Go Tomorrow”) during emotional moments created some seriously hard-hitting television.

Could they have achieved these things in a 2-hour runtime? No way. Could any genre? Probably not. The transition between fear, then regret, and then acceptance was a drawn-out emotional ride that needed the time frame it had, and it’s a success will change Horror.

Series Rating: 9.5/10

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Henry Godfrey-Evans

Henry Godfrey-Evans

I like appreciating works of art, as well as attempting to craft some of my own. Check out my podcast! It's called 'Bring a mit' on every platform!

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