When the initial reviews for this Netflix produced show came out, they were fantastic. People were giving it rave reviews and saying it was a slow burn, but worth it for the end. They even claimed people got nauseous from watching this series. Since it is October, it sounds like the perfect Halloween show to watch this year.
The first five episode give the viewer some character development plot with one of the children being the focal point. It shows their struggles after the events of Hill House when they were children and shows viewers how events may affect the rest of your life. Because they are trying to create such dynamic characters, they have to dedicate a lot of time to characters. In total, this series sits at a little over 10 hours. One has to be invested into this show, clearly.
The pacing of this series felt very consistent with being slow. There are very few scenes that felt fast, one of them being the escape scene in the first episode. It’s also pretty hand-holding throughout, which takes you out of the immersion. If the Saw franchise did this, it would’ve ruined the twist endings. The Haunting of Hill House isn’t afraid to reiterate the same concept over and over. It also introduces ideas and objects that never get fleshed out more, ex. Theodora’s hands and the Bowler’s hat. I expected an ending that would explain the significance of some events.
While I expected the final episode to wrap things up and possibly leave it semi-open for a new season, it didn’t leave me with the satisfaction that was praised by critics. Spoiler Alert: the house doesn’t get destroyed at the end. It is a much happier ending than it should’ve been. Families get reunited through death, which is bittersweet for the living. But all the living characters also get happy endings with relationships fixed, finding love, and sobering up.
Although I never read the original source material directly, I read the plot off of the Wikipedia page. I expected an ending similar to that with not knowing which events were truly real. The big twist ending sort of related to that with the red door room being multiple different rooms depending on the person. After waiting 9+ hours for the ending, I felt let down. Because everything is hand fed to you, you don’t feel like you missed any elements. It doesn’t have much of a replay value in the end.
In the end, I’d recommend it to somebody that maybe deals in psychiatry more than somebody that enjoys horror. It has a few episodes that are nice to watch in the beginning, but too many are forgettable. The series looks great with lighting, CGI, etc., but lacks in the plot field. Hopefully this isn’t a one season and done show. Watch this show if you have a lot of free time and don’t have cable, otherwise I would watch an actual Horror film for 1/3 of the time.