Why is “The Haunting of Hill House” So Terrifyingly Great?

Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Mckenna Grace, Lulu Wilson, Julian Hilliard, Paxton Singleton, and Violet McGraw in "The Haunting of Hill House"

The Haunting of Hill House is Netflix’s latest popular horror series, and it’s still rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. But what makes it so terrifyingly great?

We care about the characters

Introducing the Crane family as children immediately creates empathy in the audience. Consequently, when we see the characters as adults, we already have a vested interest in the characters and care what happens to them. Genuinely caring what happens to a show’s characters means there is more at stake and the storyline becomes all the more gripping and powerful as a result.

It doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares

Yes, there are occasionally jump scares, but they are pulled off remarkably well. Unlike a lot of recent Hollywood horror productions, the show does not rely on cheap scares to entertain. Instead, the series sustains a looming feeling of horror and suspense and times its jumpy moments perfectly.

It pays enormous attention to detail

A lot of the show’s brilliance lies in the attention to detail. Throughout several scenes, there is something in the background. Be it an unnerving shadow or a ghostly face, there’s often… something. This creates the feeling of omnipresent haunting and keeps you permanently on edge.

The characters are incredibly crafted

Not only is it easy to empathize with the characters, it’s easy to believe them too. Each member of the Crane family is carefully carved out with a unique set of qualities that make them all the more credible. There are no moments when a character’s reaction seems far-fetched. Even when we don’t understand their actions, we know it’s because we could never understand the severity of the trauma and haunting they have been through.

It doesn’t need a sequel

An admirable feature of the series is the way it wrapped up perfectly. It didn’t leave us hanging, it didn’t leave important questions unanswered and it didn’t leave a tantalizing twist at the end in case they want to make a sequel. Each intricate story line came together in the stunning season finale, removing the need for a followup season entirely. In fact, a sequel could only stand to damage the achievement of the show.