The Haunting of Hill House Blu-ray Review
Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Haunting of Hill House from Netflix and Paramount Home Media Distribution.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2018
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 569 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.00:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino, Elizabeth Reaser, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Seigel, Victoria Pedretti, Lulu Wilson, Michael Huisman, McKenna Grace, Julian Hilliard, Violet McGraw, Paxton Singleton
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Music by: The Newton Brothers
Region Code: A
Release Date: October 15, 2019
“Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.” – Paramount Home Media Distribution
The Haunting of Hill House is a modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel and follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, they are forced back together in the face of tragedy and must finally confront the ghosts of their past. Some of those ghosts still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.
I haven’t read Shirley Jackson’s novel but, I have seen one of the feature films based on it, “The Haunting” which came out 20 years ago now. There is also a 1963 film of the same name. “The Haunting” is a mediocre horror film with a solid cast but, what makes it special is its soundtrack on home video. Anyway, fast forward to 2018 and a new Netflix Original series called The Haunting of Hill House pops up in my Netflix newsfeed. As a genre fan I was very curious and my wife and I gave it a go.
Somewhere in the middle of the first episode it dawned on me that this series appeared to be based on the 1999 film “The Haunting”. It wasn’t until I did some quick checking that I found out about Shirley Jackson’s book etc. The Haunting of Hill House is a 10-episode series that turned out to be so much better than I was anticipating.
Created and directed by Mike Flanagan it’s most definitely seated in the ghost story camp and centers on a family that purely by happenstance winds up occupying Hill House, an old dreary mansion, with a past steeped in chilling legend surrounding the family it’s named after and the tragedy that seems to befall those living under its roof.
The writing is simply terrific, carefully weaving its tale by rendering its narrative’s two time periods and sets of characters (same characters at differing ages) neatly within the context of its evolving plot which moves back and forth, revealing the details of what transpired. The Crain family, now years beyond the events suffered within Hill House, are fractured, each contending with the emotional weight of the past and its firm grip on them. Each set of characters are well represented within the story, allowing a viably rich connection to them and their significance to the plotline.
With each episode more light is shed on not only why the family was, and, is in crisis but, the depths of the foreboding darkness that threatens them. I found The Haunting of Hill House to be riveting, as its wonderfully engrossing story, superbly drawn characters and layer peeling approach had me chomping at the bit to see what was coming next. The elements of familial drama, mystery and horror never left me wanting. As the story draws closer to its conclusion it gets darker, providing the answers to the questions that have been alluded to throughout the course of the season. As I sat down with it again for this review, I was completely drawn in again, reveling in its well-crafted story, visuals and terrific performances by its ensemble cast.
The Haunting of Hill House is a terrific mini-series and is among my favorites of Netfilx’s Original programming. It has been renewed by Netflix as an anthology series, telling a new story each season. I am not what comes next but, I am in!
Here’s the breakdown of the Episode Guide for The Haunting of Hill House:
• EP 101: Steven Sees a Ghost
o Steven Sees a Ghost Extended Director’s Cut
o Steven Sees a Ghost Extended Director’s Cut Commentary by Director Mike Flanagan
• EP 102: Open Casket
• EP 103: Touch
• EP 104: The Twin Thing
• EP 105: The Bent-Neck Lady
o The Bent-Neck Lady Extended Director’s Cut
o The Bent-Neck Lady Extended Director’s Cut Commentary by Director Mike Flanagan
• EP 106: Two Storms
o Two Storms Commentary by Director Mike Flanagan
• EP 107: Eulogy
• EP 108: Witness Marks
• EP 109: Screaming Meemies
• EP 110: Silence Lay Steadily
o Silence Lay Steadily Extended Director’s Cut
o Silence Lay Steadily Extended Director’s Cut Commentary by Director Mike Flanagan
The series contains thematic material, language, sexual content and disturbing images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
The Haunting of Hill House comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound.
This 2.00:1 framed video presentation offers appreciable high definition resolution that has a satisfying glossy aesthetic. Images are stable and sharp with plenty of discernible texture and revealing fine detail during close-ups. Many of the show’s sequences are shot in uneven and low lighting. Shadow delineation and depth is quite good. Black levels tend to be elevated which leaves many scenes appearing somewhat washed out. The series has an overall teal splashed aesthetic that coincides with its subject matter, resulting in sullen and muted colors. Fleshtones fall in line with the show’s general appearance leaving them lacking in tonal delineation, something that I didn’t deduct for. Overall, I found this presentation to be faithful to its streaming counterpart.
The DTS-HD Master Audio multi-channel soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, robust dynamics and an enriching surround sound mix. I was impressed with its use of spacial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with shows music score, and elements of horror to build suspense/tension and to drive its thematic elements. This appears to be a faithful and high-quality audio/video presentation that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.
The Haunting of Hill House is a modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel and is a wonderfully crafted 10-part ghost story that proves thoroughly engrossing from end to end. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring solid high definition audio/video quality mated with a worthwhile and insightful supplemental package. The Haunting of Hill House is a must see for those that appreciate ghost stories where something goes bump in the night. The show has been renewed by Netflix as an anthology series that will tell a new story each season. I will be tuning in to see where things go.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
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Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
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System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
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AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems
I'd love to watch the extended content but I'm absolutely baffled that they didn't put this out as a 4K HDR release, in Atmos sound .... given that the original Netflix version was in 4K HDR Atmos .... anyone have any idea why they didn't go the extra mile? probably just the normal reason pertaining to additional costs and whatnot?
Thanks Ralph, I had this on my Amazon wish list and was hoping you might look into this one before I ordered it but because it was a mini-series I wasn't holding my breath. I read and still have the original paperback book as well as both the Robert Wise 1963 "The Haunting", and the 1999 Jan de Bont "The Haunting", and was interested to find out what this one was about. I'll order it now.
Definitely looking forward to your thoughts/impressions. :)
this alone all but guarantees this wont sell. What a horrible decision by Netflix. Unless this cost less then a month of Netflix, why would anyone buy this? Lets be honest, most people dont watch things more then once. So they are trying to hit such a nitch market to begin with.
Great show. My wife and I don't really like horror movies/shows much but this one is different. It's so well done. I had goosebumps many times and rarely happens to me when watching a movie or a show.
I too am baffled at why they wouldn't release it in Atmos...
Bluray and upmixing looks and sounds so good here, I'm almost happy that I could get it on bluray for $23 to see if I enjoy it.
I watched this one on Netflix and absolutely loved it! I found it to be very well done and engaging. I had read online that there are several scenes that have “hidden” ghosts in them, that most of us watching would not have noticed, so I checked some of the times the article referenced, and sure enough, they are there. That was also quite fun to look for.
Coincidentally, I noticed “The Haunting” from 1963 was on tv yesterday, so I watched a good portion of it. I did not realize that this movie and the series were related. Several characters names were the same and even some of the house was the same, which I found interesting.
Side note: did anyone else notice in certain scenes, at certain camera angles, the actress that plays Theo looks an awful lot like Angelina Jolie?
I started this today and went through three episodes, wanting more. The character development makes the story telling shine. It took an episode for me to follow the back and forth in time to lock in on who is who, but once it gelled, it really took off.
Solid television so far. I have high hopes for the rest.
I finally binge watched discs 2 and 3 today after watching disc 1 a few weeks ago and again earlier this week.
Your review is spot on Ralph, this is actually the creepiest film series I've seen in ages. So much of today's releases in horror genre are as much laughable as scare inducing. Flying body parts, pierced body parts, gallons of squirting blood, improbable monsters even with creative makeup, special effects, and CGI are fun, but not all that frightening. (Just re-watched "Cabin in the Woods" recently, inventive story line with the best parts being Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins in Central Control. Not at all that frightening to me, but a lot of fun and laughs. I mean, come on, "Zombie Redneck Torture Family", I couldn't keep a straight face.)
This "Hill House" series was a genuine creep-fest, I could sense the dread building slowly throughout each episode and the series as a whole. A sort of cathartic final episode. Great script, acting, and production values. I'll be sharing this with friends over time and look forward to revisiting it.
Just finished Episode 8, and the s*it is about to hit the fan! Looks like next Saturday to finish.
Character development is strong in this series. I actually give a crap about every character!
Exactly! I found that to be true as well.
Just finished the Series. Damn fine....up there with The Soprano's as one of my favorites.
The writers took the time to actually write their way through an ending, rather than just wrap everything up in hurried mess of a rush.
Two final words...Carla Gugino.
Two final words...Carla Gugino.
Okay...a few more:
"Series creator/director Mike Flanagan had said that although he was eager to return for more, he didn't feel the need to revisit the Crain family. Earlier this year, Netflix renewed The Haunting of Hill House for a second season which will transform the show into an anthology series. Now titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, the new season will be based on "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James and feature a new story with all-new characters. However, there just may be a familiar face or two jumping from Hill House to Bly Manor. While speaking with The Wrap, Carla Gugino (who played Olivia Crain) said that she's been "talking a lot" with Mike Flanagan about the possibilities of returning.
Well, I can’t say anything definitive at this point, other than Mike and I really love collaborating and working together and any opportunity where a schedule allows for us to do that, we will, and I would be honored to... So we’re talking a lot about it and we’ll just see if all schedules allow. All I can say is I’m very excited for Season 2 and to see what Mike does.As The Wrap reminds us, Carla Gugino hasn't been the only Haunting of Hill House cast-member to drop hints regarding a possible return, as Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain) told the outlet last month that he'd get shot if he answered the question of whether he'd be back for season two. "I would love to answer that question," Jackson-Cohen explained. "All I can say is that ‘Bly Manor’ is going to be incredible. It’s a very, very exciting story, from what I’ve heard." This raises the possibility of Mike Flanagan pulling an American Horror Story and bring the first season cast back for new roles. I'd certainly be down if that's the route Flanagan chooses to go, but I'm also not against bringing in a fresh crop of actors. What do you folks think?
The Haunting of Bly Manor will debut on Netflix in 2020."
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