Everyone loves haunted house stories. Horror films especially enjoy utilizing the haunted house trope, including the most iconic and successful ones like Paranormal Activity. What’s more, the audience seems to particularly love these types of stories. As a result, it’s no surprise that Netflix relied on the good, old haunted house trope to the television series The Haunting of Hill House, which was a knock out success.
In Netflix’s quest to cement itself as the number one streaming platform as the world inevitably shifts to streaming form of media consumption, it is tasked with the responsibility of creating content for different genres if they want to continue to attracts subscribers from all over the world with different interests and preferences. In achieving this, Netflix has spent over $2 billion on content and while some of their original content has not been worth the money, that is certainly not the case with The Haunting of Hill House. The show was produced in collaboration with Amblin Television and Paramount Television. The show, which was created by Mike Flanagan is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 work, the novel The Haunting of Hill House. It has gone on to become one of the most critically successful productions out of Netflix, currently rated 92% at the review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes.
The show’s success is all the result of careful thought and planning that had gone into the idea by Mike Flanagan and deftly executed by a brilliant cast of Carla Gugino, Elizabeth Reaser, Michiel Huisman, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel and Victoria Pedretti.
The show was released on October 12, 2018. It has 10 episodes.
As suggested by the name, the story is the exploration of the events that happened before and after the encounter of the Crain family at Hill House. In the summer of 1992, the Crain family had decided to move into a new home, the Hill House, with the intention of renovating and flipping it in order to raise the capital to build their own house. Under the leadership of Olivia, the matriarch of the Crain family who is an architect, the family took on the challenges of living in the Hill House which soon turns to be a lot more than they can handle as their challenges spiral from structural repairs to paranormal phenomena.
Their encounter with the house results in a loss that the family is forced to deal with for the rest of their lives. The show takes a time jump between the past, present, and future, exploring the journey of the Crain family through the phenomena they encountered in the Hill House.
As mentioned earlier, the story’s highly rated success benefits from a tightly wound story that delivers the scares, stomach-turning and heart racing effects expected of horror flicks. This feat is achieved because of the brilliant direction by Mike Flanagan and a capable cast. Here is a list of some of the cast members who deliver a successful project.
Michiel Huisman – Steven Crain
Hollywood has quite a number of actors and actresses who have displayed dramatic capabilities in supporting roles worthy of mainstream popularity but have been mostly looked over. Michiel Huisman, who has delivered brilliant performances in films like The Age of Adaline and Wild and on television shows like Game of Thrones playing Daario Naharis and Liam McGuinnis in Nashville, finally got his due as the lead character in The Haunting of Hill House, playing Steven Crain, eldest son of the Crain family and famous author who has managed to build a successful writing career from writing about his family’s experience at Hill House.
Michiel, who is a Dutch actor began his career in his home country and made his international debut in 2006 in a British series, Dalziel and Pascoe. Michiel has gone on to make several appearances in international projects in both film and television. Michiel Huisman is also a musician and songwriter with three released singles with his band, Fontane and two singles and an album as a solo artist.
Carla Gugino – Olivia Crain
The train of impressive casting continues with Carla Gugino who plays Olivia Crain on the show. Her character, Olivia is an architect who works with her husband, Hugh Crain, to flip houses. She is one of the characters most affected by the paranormal activity in the Hill House. As the most affected, her role required a degree of dramatic ability from Carla Gugino, which she managed to deliver convincingly.
While her portrayal and dramatic talents may have been surprising to those who aren’t familiar with her work, it is all part of a tapestry of excellence she has been weaving since she appeared in her first onscreen role in 1988. She has starred and delivered in films like Sin City, American Gangster, Watchmen, Girl Walks into a Bar, The Space Between Us, among others. In television, she has expressed her talents in shows like Wayward Pines, Entourage, Californication, Political Animals, among others.
Henry Thomas/ Timonth Hutton – Hugh Crain
Henry Thomas and Timothy Hutton (as a result of time jump on the show) both play the Crain family patriarch, Hugh Crain. On the show, Hugh Crain, like the rest of the Crain family, has to deal with the after-effects of the Hill House incident, especially dealing with the guilt that his profession as someone who flips houses led his family into the tragedy of their time at Hill House.
Henry Thomas has been acting since 1981 and has enjoyed time in the spotlight in some notable projects like starring in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Cloak & Dagger, Dear John, The Last Ride, Moby Dick, The Mentalist, Sons of Liberty, among others. He is due to star in Stargirl in 2019 as Charles McNider.
Timothy Hutton is a talented and excellent actor, who currently holds the record for youngest recipient of the Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Category, having won the award for his role in Ordinary People when he was just twenty.
He also known for his roles in Leverage and How To Get Away With Murder.
Elizabeth Reaser – Shirley Crain Harris
Like Henry Thomas and Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Reaser shares the role of Shirley Crain Harris as the character in a time period, the other time period is played by Lulu Wilson. Shirley Crain Harris is the eldest daughter of the Crain family and a proud owner of a mortuary with her husband Kevin.
Elizabeth Reaser adds her role as Shirley Crain Harris to her long list of film and television credits that includes projects like True Detective, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, The Twilight Sage series, among others. Over the course of her career, she has been nominated for several awards, including the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award.
Oliver Jackson-Cohen – Luke Crain
Oliver Jackson-Cohen joins the list of cast members who played one half of a character’s representation on the show. Oliver plays Luke Crain, the older twin of the family, who has been drowning himself in drug addiction as a result of the trauma experienced at Hill House.
Being a dramatic role, it was a wise choice to cast a man who had a background in theatre, which Oliver Jackson-Cohen has, having started his career as a theatre actor. He started his onscreen portrayals with Hollyoaks in 2002. His notable projects are Dracula, What’s Your Number? and Emerald City before he was cast in The Haunting of Hill House.
Kate Siegel – Theodora Crain
Actress and Screenwriter Kate Siegel, who has appeared in projects like Hush, Gerald’s Game, Steam, stars in his show as Theodora Crain, the middle child who grew up to become a child psychologist. The character, Theodora, is also a psychic, a trait she shares with her mother as part of the lasting effects of the incident of Hill House. Kate has appeared in other projects by Mike Flanagan – who is her husband – including the critically acclaimed horror film, Oculus which was released in 2013.
She plays the character as its older version, Mckenna Grace plays the younger version.
Victoria Pedretti – Eleanor Crain Vance
Victoria Pedretti plays the other half of the twins in the Crain family. She and her brother are two of the worst victims of the Hill House although she has tried to live a normal life by getting married.
Victoria Pedretti is a young actress and one of the show’s breakout stars. She has starred in very little projects before getting cast in the show. The Haunting of Hill House is her most notable and only television project till date. She is scheduled to star in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2019.
Other cast members in the show are Annabeth Gish, Anthony Ruivivar, Levy Tran, James Lafferty, Samantha Sloyan, among others.
The Haunting of Hill House Season 2 Release Date
Although the creator and director of The Haunting of Hill House has suggested the show doesn’t need a season two, the show has not been officially canceled or ended by Netflix. Mike Flanagan has also not definitively ruled out returning for season 2, so there’s still a chance that the show’s brilliant director may very well still return for a second season. For now, nothing has been confirmed yet.
However, if a second season of the show might happen, it may very well happen in name only as rumors of turning it into an anthology series has been floating around Hollywood.