Despite what I’ve accidentally read about his personal life, director Mike Flanagan‘s expertise is in family-centric horror. It shows in Netflix’s latest horror offering The Haunting of Hill House, his adaptation of the novel by legendary genre writer Shirley Jackson.
Having only finished episode 1, I can tell you it’s a slow-burn, but that’s in keeping with Flanagan’s filmmaking MO. So, too, is his penchant for repeat-casting actors (including his current wife). It’s a decent introduction to the series and its characters, with a Stephen King-like split from childhood to adulthood undercutting any pacing issues.
We get a lot of plot set-up: a once tight-knit family now far apart both geographically and emotionally; snippets of the adults the children grew into; and the unsettling nature of their childhood home, the titular Hill House.
It’s got atmosphere in spades, but a slow-burn pilot offers neither enough to judge the series as a potential viewer nor enough tension to want to be a potential viewer. But it’s Flanagan, so if you liked Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil and Gerald’s Game (and I did), it’s enough to pique your curiosity.