News By/Courtesy: TEJAS SHIVALKAR | 26 Jun 2020 11:28am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Choosing to create an adaptation of a literary classic is always a brave move – especially when it is frequently praised as one of the greats of the American canon
  • The story alternates across timelines, especially today and two decades ago, in order to provide a clearer perspective into the pain of such incidents, when the family lived at Hill House
  • The ensemble work wonders how the aged performers and the children who interact alongside their younger selves put such characters into reality

Choosing to create an adaptation of a literary classic is always a brave move – especially when it is frequently praised as one of the greats of the American canon. Shirley Jackson's 1959 book, The Haunting of Hill House, has been adapted to film twice times to various degrees of success: once to Robert Wise's critical praise in 1963, and once to widespread acceptance in the form of a 1999 sequel by Catherine Zeta-Jones. But never before, has anyone dared to go so far as to interpret Jackson's source material – and who could have predicted that such a loose reimagining would be such a success?

Michael Flanagan, a veteran developer of horror – the highly lauded Gerald's Game, Hush, and Oculus to name a couple – has also produced and directed the Netflix series. So he makes a bold so original decision by reflecting on the Crain tribe, the central spiritual force of Jackson's book, and not only does he fly, but he sprints for it. He transforms the former contextual characters of Jackson's terror into the stars of the show.

Through his view, the focus of the show moves from the events of Hill House to the lasting impact of his experiences on the lives of five brothers and sisters who saw their mother take her life at home when they were young. And it is this act of shifting the focal point of the story from the confines of the haunted house to the modern, outer world that makes this series frightening, raw, and revolutionary. The old haunted house tale is given a psychological revamp to the modern viewer – we no longer simply see the scares in action, we see how the effects of that traumatic event reverberate over a lifetime.

This psychological emphasis does not imply that you are missing the conventional suspense, as the series evokes the creeping fear of classical Ghost Films. Flanagan's differing usage of close-ups and panic-styles encapsulates the terrifying situations of the Hill House family – generating the tension, the apprehension and the hopping scares that jihadist fans will enjoy as the mixture of rich dark and action shots attract ardent movie buffs.

The story alternates across timelines, especially today and two decades ago, to provide a clearer perspective into the pain of such incidents, when the family lived at Hill House a single summer. It is fascinating about the families at the center of this tale is that as you glance at the ghost meetings and the overall strangeness of their lives, the Crains become almost unrecognized from the fractured systems of the world; there are sibling rivalries sparkled with love and wealth, heartbreaks and weddings, and other familial grievances. However, while not perfect, the moments of hilarity, unity, and even celebration are also present that make the family serious and, maybe, why you have laughed, cried, and fallen enamored of the family by the series final. 

This series is not only the premise of the family but the characters themselves. Flanagan spends episodes that give the audience insightful yet shameless vignettes of the lives of his characters – and as always, he is a winner. It takes skill to create many profound and genuinely interested characters, but as this series demonstrates, it remains the ingredient to create a Moorish show, a show that keeps audiences moving.

The ensemble work wonders how the aged performers and the children who interact alongside their younger selves put such characters into reality. Steven, a money-driven skeptical who makes his living ironically as an author of horror novels to become a character that is drawn to both love and hatred due to his steadfastness with his supernatural-believer family. Micah Husiman and Paxton Singleton portray the oldest and the younger versions of his eldest Crain kids. Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson are on the same boat as Shirley, who has a job like a dream funeral director, who runs contrary to her brother in his contradictory novel.

Among the younger siblings are Theodora, played by McKenna Grace and Kate Siegel, who shines particularly as the closest character to Jackson's dream-the the strong, cool-to-school, and now openly homosexual Theo.

Whereas Victoria Pedretti and Violet McGraw, who still hold some of the ditsy touches that Jackson places on the story, is so clearly depicted that one might very well imagine that the character is feeling genuine suffering. Her twin brother Luke is an adventurous young boy who is driven to a new level of heroin as a way of dealing with its literal and figural devils as an adult.

Carla Gugino and Timothy Hutton are the members of the team. Mr. Crain is also a part of the family. Gugino steals each scene in which she appears as an obsessive and crazy family matriarch, while Hutton played to her adult children with her husband and father. The Crain's are a concoction of broken persons eaten alive by fear but alienated from the world's only understandable individuals. When the specters, hops, and shocks ravage them severely, happily even though the conditions might not be optimal, the connection between the once-broken family continues to be remedied.

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT INTEND TO HURT THE SENTIMENTS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY, SECT, OR RELIGION ETCETERA. THIS ARTICLE IS BASED PURELY ON THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL VIEWS AND OPINIONS IN THE EXERCISE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 19(1)(A) AND OTHER RELATED LAWS BEING FORCE IN INDIA, FOR THE TIME BEING.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 27 Jun 2020 9:26am IST


Tags : TV Series, review

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