The films to date have been solid. Two out of three were fantastic. One was a train wreck, but still fun to watch. The books are fantastic. The concepts in all are fun and engaging. So, when I heard that they were doing another version I was super excited. That is, until I saw the trailer.
"What?! Gawd damn it - they changed everything. What....it's about a family now? Bet it'll be packed with jump scares, clowns, nuns, and dolls. Stupid people changing a great thing. Just give me the Jackson or Matheson book. BOO!" And, I stomped off to sulk.
But...holy cow....this is a fantastic vision for the Hill House legacy. Complex and super engaging, this new version had me talking and talking about the show and wanting to just sit and watch the whole thing in one sitting!
Do yourself a favor - Don't watch any trailers for this. Don't Google-up any images. Just watch. The images I have in this post are spoiler free.
The story is about a family. Not ghosts, but a family. I believe that's what makes it so strong. The parents move into homes, redo them and get them looking grand, then sell them for profit. The kids are used to the whole show and are eager to get the Hill House done so they can move on to their final new home - a dream home they will never have to move from again. This is the big score, the Hill House. Once it's done, they'll be all set. But as is the case with films when people start talking about the bright snd shiny future, things have a tendency to fail and not go the way plans state.
As the children grow up and face their adult dramas, they remember life in the Hill House and see how it's affecting their adult selves.
Now, that seems simple and very Little House on the Prairie, but it's not. My simple breakdown of what's happening has been super simplified. The storytelling here is complex and smart. We see present day all the way back to the first day they moved in. Non-linear scenes blend timelines and story arcs expertly as the stories - both past and present, unfold. We're shown, not told which I completely loved! Basically, Mike Flanagan's writing says, "Ok...here are the players. Let's go. Keep up, ok?" and it leads you forward flashing back and forth in a beautiful dance. The story moves along going from the present day back to various stops in the past to tell the tale and I never once felt lost or confused. It all just makes sense the way it's laid out.
Am I making this sound like I loved it? Oh, that's only because I did love it. With my whole heart. :)
The acting really made it here. The kids and their adult selves feel like they really are matched perfectly. Using Henry Thomas as the young father Hugh Crain and Timothy Hutton as the older Crain was amazing. They both take on little character traits that make the transition perfect. Carla Gugino is mesmerizing. The entire cast is rock solid and never feels like they are going to far over the top dramatically, but they nail every emotion throughout.
|Ghosts from one scene in the first episode|
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The look and feel of the house is amazing as well. There are family scenes that are light and bright in the day - nothing to fear. But, the night scenes.... whew....those are a different story all together.
I'm not going to say much more. I don't really want to let anything slip about this series.
If you love a good drama, great storytelling, and some fantastic, gothic chills, you're going to want to drop everything, head over to NETFLIX, and fire up The Haunting of Hill House ASAP. It's a fantastic journey.