“The Haunting of Hill House” haunted us indeed when it dropped all its 10 episodes on Netflix on October 12 and gave us what was arguably one of 2018’s best shows. With the 76th Golden Globe Awards not too far away, “Hill House” could already begin to rack up some well-deserved hardware. The question is: will it haunt the Hollywood Foreign Press Association enough to pick up a Best Drama Series nomination?
Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel “The Haunting of Hill House” has been adapted twice to the big screen, in 1963 by Robert Wise and in 1999 by Jan de Bont – both times under the title “The Haunting.” The Netflix reimagining of Jackson’s novel was created by Mike Flanagan (“Hush”), who also directed all 10 episodes and wrote or co-wrote several of them.
The supernatural horror drama follows Hugh Crain (Henry Thomas) and his wife Olivia (Carla Gugino) who move into Hill House with their five children in 1992 to renovate it, sell it and use the money to build their own house as designed by Olivia. When unexpected repairs lengthen their stay, they start to experience paranormal phenomena. Soon, a tragic loss forces the Crain family to escape the mansion and leave everything behind. Now, 26 years later, the family reunites after yet another tragedy strikes, and in doing so is inevitably confronted with the ghosts of their past.
With “Hill House,” Flanagan has set a new benchmark for the horror genre, defying horror cliches such as gratuitous violence, unnecessary jump scares and predictable twists. On its surface, it may seem like a story about one of America’s infamous haunted houses, but at its core, it’s about how the past can leave life-long scars and haunt an entire family indefinitely. The story is so inextricably intertwined and rich in detail that every scene moves the story forward, and it particularly triumphs in its seamless ability to cut back and forth between the two different timelines.
Whether it’s just a ghost lingering in the background of a scene or a masterfully executed long take, Flanagan’s direction stands out throughout the show’s 10 episodes. It’s with such subtlety yet precision that he is able to chronicle this family’s tragic story and convey their every emotion. Other cast members include Timothy Hutton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Mckenna Grace, Julian Hilliard, Michiel Huisman, Violet McGraw, Victoria Pedretti, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel, Paxton Singleton and Lulu Wilson.
The show has also received praise from critics, who awarded it a score of 79 on MetaCritic. Here are some notable reviews:
Sadie Gennis (TVGuide.com): “It’s as though Flanagan has taken Jackson’s original work, shattered it and then rearranged the pieces to create a completely original, but equally brilliant tale.“
Melanie McFarland (Salon): “In possessing that notion completely via writing, visuals and its cast performances, this new incarnation of ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is more than merely superb. It could prove to be the defining horror series of this moment.“
Brian Tallerico (RobertEbert.com): “’The Haunting of Hill House’ contains some of the most unforgettable horror imagery in film or television in years. The best horror film of the year also happens to be one of the best TV shows of 2018. Don’t miss it.“
Could “Hill House” be the next “Stranger Things” at the Globes? After all, the latter – another Netflix supernatural horror drama – was able to snatch two consecutive Drama Series bids in 2017 and 2018. As it won’t be eligible for the Globes this time around, “Hill House” may stand a good chance of filling the void. Not to mention, two other Best Drama Series nominees from last year, “The Crown” and “Game of Thrones,” will also not be eligible as they didn’t air any new episodes in 2018. Plus, HFPA voters love to award everything that’s new and shiny, which “Hill House” absolutely is.
Do you agree that “Hill House” is worthy of a Drama Series bid? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below.
PREDICT the Golden Globe TV nominations now; change them until Dec. 6
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Golden Globe contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Golden Globe predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on Dec. 6.
SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions