I'll admit it-I was leery when I heard that Netflix was adapting this to a television show. It's one of my favorite novels of all time and in my mind there was no way any TV show was going to live up to this book.
I was wrong.
It doesn't exactly live up to the book-it creates its own story, one loosely related to the original, one respectful of the original, but also one that deserves praise in its own right. I say respectful, because the character names are almost all straight from the book, but the characters they represent are all different, other than Mr. and Mrs. Dudley.
(They were and remain the caretakers of Hill House. They do not stay past nightfall, so no one will hear you scream in the night) I say it deserves praise because of the reasons I've listed below.
The cast, the music, the cinematography, the writing, (sometimes quoting the best of the novel), even the opening sequence: all of it was incredibly moving, scary, heartbreaking, and in the end...BEAUTIFUL. Simply, beautiful.
The performances, by all the players, both young and adult, were phenomenal.
The characters from left to right:
Theo, Hugh, (the dad), Shirley, Luke, Eleanor, (Nell, her back is to us), Stephen, and Olivia.
The characters as adults, from left to right:
Nell, Shirley, Luke, Hugh, (this is young Hugh), Oliva, Theo and Stephen.
As the older Hugh, an extraordinary Timothy Hutton. He knocked this out of the park.
(Like my beloved Red Sox did this year, but that's another post!)
That red door! That damned red door.
Created by Mike Flanagan, this is possibly the best horror show on television, ever. Period.
The cinematography, (do you still call it that when it's a TV show?), the long uncut camera shot in episode 6 (20+ minutes!), was a masterpiece.
The set decorator-I don't even know what to say. That house was gorgeous,(in the scenes which took place when the family was living there.) The furniture, the stained glass, the portraits, the clocks, the rugs-all of it perfectly placed.
This show was so damn good it's caused me to write my very first television series review. I cannot recommend it highly enough! No, it's not the book, however, it treats the book respectfully, and even quotes it from time to time. That said, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE on NETFLIX is a masterpiece that stands on its own.
My highest recommendation!