Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.
An eight-week period of their childhood, meant to be spent flipping the sprawling historic Hill House into something sellable, has left five siblings in shambles even twenty-plus years after they were inexplicably forced from their home in the middle of the night. Varying in degrees of acceptance, recollection, and fear towards the events that occured, they must face the repercussions of their time spent at the Hill House again… but, this time, as adults.
An acclaimed horror author who doesn’t believe in ghosts, a practical-minded funeral parlor owner, a snappy therapist who quite literally dons a second skin to face the outside world, a heroin addict who is deemed hopeless by those around him, and a grieving young woman whose kindergarten nightmares are paralyzing her once more; these are the Crain children, who must face their past, or be doomed to an unforgiving future.
Michiel Huisman as Steven Crain
Better recognized (at least, by me) as the utterly swoon-worthy lead opposite Blake Lively in Age of Adaline, Huisman thoroughly impressed me in his performance. I can’t say I find him quite as attractive in this series, but his ability to cover up his Dutch accent unnoticeably has got to give him some Brownie Points.
Gugino as Olivia was utterly enchanting and horrifying. The essence of a mother, enraptured in both her children and the Hill House in two entirely different scales, makes it hard for me to believe that all these actors aren’t her children. No spoilers here, but her acting chops are much better than her supporting roles in Sucker Punch and Spy Kids suggest.
Elizabeth Reaser as Shirley Crain
While there are no sparkly vampires in this movie, Reaser’s performance is still stellar and entirely raw… and I doubt Esme Cullen would swear quite as much as darling ol’ Shirl.
McKenna Grace as Young Theodora (Theo) Crain
McKenna Grace is the Kirsten Dunst of the Gen Z’s, only, well, better. As always, her acting skills go way beyond her years, and her first portrayal as a brooding, dark-haired pre-teen will certainly not be her last, but will definitely be one of her best.
Victoria Pedretti as Eleanor (Nellie) Crain
Okay, so no one knows who Pedretti is (though I was definitely convinced for half an episode that she had played the older Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), but it seems a civic duty to inform people of this actress. Nellie is Pedretti’s breakout role, which is shocking, to say the least; her performance is arguably the string that sews the entire show together.
Couch-Sharing Capability: “Pretend like you love each other!” – Mom, with a camera
Hill House is the perfect way to grudgingly love your siblings, but blame it all on the show. It’s equal parts nostalgic and terrifying, and shows the nitty-gritties of families (especially ones who’ve been through shizz) in a way that makes you want to call up your relatives and discuss aching secrets and/or funny stories.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: A Classy Amount
While it’s definitely not recommended to get wasted (which Theo Crain could certainly attest to), I think a shot is only necessary if you’re a major scaredy-pants, not a gore lover, or the intense agony of prolonged slow-burn really gets to ya. Substance abuse is a small thread in this show, so…
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: The Angels are Singing
I’ve attempted plenty of Netflix’s overabundant horror options, but Hill House is by far the best out of all of them. Maybe it’s the exquisite usage of camerawork and lighting when switching from past to present, maybe it’s the raven-haired beauties with complex personalities, or maybe it’s the quaint little farmer’s sink next to the black mold that really makes me excited. Either way, this show is equal parts suspenseful, tear-jerking, and beautiful, and the message that is so often hid behind cheesy jump-scares makes ten hour-long episodes so worth it.
About the Contributor:
Bridget is a high school student by day and a voracious nerd by night. She might just be the only actual YA to be featured on FYA, and she takes this role extremely seriously. Bridget can be found drinking chai, making obscure playlists that are oddly specific moments or book-themed, and annoying people with her obsessive The 100 fan theories.