Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House S1:E1 (Steven Sees a Ghost) recap

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image courtesy of imdb

As Steven sets up equipment in the woman’s bedroom, he gets a call from his father, who tells him to get to Nell as soon as possible. Steven impatiently blows Hugh off, telling him that he is working and isn’t going to just leave. He hangs up, then lays down on the bed, and his eyes close.

Shortly after 3:00 a.m., each of the Crain siblings (except for Nell) wake up suddenly, gasping and holding their throats. Shirley, always prone to talking in her sleep, mumbles that Nellie is in the Red Room. Steven wakes up to water dripping on his face, and when he stands on the bed to check out the ceiling, he hears a car horn blaring outside. He looks out the window to see a near accident, and also notices that it is raining.

The next morning, he tells the woman that all of her experiences in the room can be explained. There is a ceiling leak, and a recently stolen stop sign explains the sound of a horn honking. As far as seeing her husband, Steven believes that only happened because she wanted to see him again. When she incredulously asks why she would want to see her husband like that, he gently responds that it’s better than never seeing him again.

Flash back again, to see young Steven in an attorney’s office with Hugh. Hugh angrily states that he will not allow his children to take the witness stand. His attorney tells him that without the children’s testimony to back up his own, he could be in serious trouble. Hugh says he doesn’t care, let the press rake him over the coals, but leave his children out of it. We discover that Olivia is said to have committed suicide in Hill House on that last night. Hugh further states that he will not sell the house, and wants no person to go anywhere near it – except for the Dudleys, who have been the caretakers for a very long time. Hill House, he says, can sit there and rot.

We see young Steven sitting in the kitchen talking to Mrs. Dudley, who is telling him that no one comes to Hill House “at night, in the dark”, not even the Dudleys, who live on the very edge of the property. After Olivia interrupts their conversation to ask if he has seen Luke, Steven goes up into the tree house, where Luke is drawing some creepy pictures, including one of a woman screaming. Luke asks how to spell “No Girls Allowed” as Steven checks out the drawings. They have a discussion about imaginary friends, and Luke insists that Abigail is not imaginary.

When adult Steven arrives home, he catches adult Luke attempting to leave with Steven’s iPad and a camera. He tells Luke he will give him $200, and he can sell the camera, but he needs the iPad back. Luke takes the cash and tells him “it’s not what you think.” He leaves, and when Steven walks into his apartment, he finds Nell standing inside. He berates her for allowing Luke to take his things while she just stood there and watched, but she only looks at him silently, fear on her face. Steven answers a phone call from Hugh, who tells him that Nell went back to Hill House and committed suicide. As Steven turns to Nell, horrified, her face turns grey, and she screams silently, then disappears.

image courtesy of imdb

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So…that was episode one, what a doozy! Let me just say, I could not be happier with this storyline so far. Again, it is NOT the same story as Shirley Jackson’s novel, but it has much the same feel to it and there are Easter Eggs sprinkled liberally throughout.

The cast is excellent, and I am very impressed with the child actors in particular. Julian Hillard, who plays young Luke, is quite possibly the most adorable child actor in existence, I just want to adopt him. And Violet McGraw, as Luke’s twin Nellie, is a close second in the cuteness department. Despite their adorable-ness, they are good, natural actors as well. You may recognize Lulu Wilson, who plays young Shirley, from Ouija: Origin of Evil and Anabelle: Creation. We don’t see a whole lot from her in this first episode, but I was impressed with her in those two movies, so I am expecting to see more from her in the remaining nine episodes.

I honestly can’t wait to see where this story goes, and to find out what really happened during the Crains’ final night at Hill House. Are you watching the new Netflix addiction, The Haunting of Hill House?

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