The shows that Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House pairs with most comfortably, genre-wise, aren’t necessarily other horror series. Indeed, they might be family dramas like Parenthood and This Is Us. Like those shows, this new series is about a family of adult siblings who are haunted by sad or even tragic pasts. Unlike those shows, that tragedy is the time they all lived in a haunted house that claimed the life of their mother. (Or was it the house’s doing at all?)
Director Mike Flanagan, known for movies like Oculus and Gerald’s Game, takes as its foundation the Shirley Jackson novel that gives the show its title, keeps many of its most elemental tropes, then builds something new out of everything else. The result is deeply creepy but unexpectedly moving, especially in the series’ gorgeously paced midsection.
“Flanagan so profoundly conveys the ferocity with which the past haunts this family, ensnaring them in webs of grief, that it feels as if we, too, are being pushed into an oblivion, so that we no longer have to share these characters’ living nightmares.” Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Metacritic score: 80 out of 100
Where to watch: The complete series is streaming on Netflix.