First off, let me just say as someone who is currently trying to cram in as much horror content before Halloween (when our boys are sleeping, of course), The Haunting Of Hill House is a true masterpiece. I am three episodes away from finishing, but I can make the “masterpiece” statement now easily. The ten-episode series is equal parts compelling and emotional family drama along with intense, suspenseful and frightening horror film. Moreover, one episode in particular drills home just how talented the people in front of and behind the camera are on this amazing production.
Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead.
Episode Six, titled “Two Storms”, takes place in a funeral home as the Crain family arrives for the night before the burial of sister Nell. In this episode, the characters are dealing with their own demons and visions that have haunted them since they left Hill House so many years ago. The story blends and balances between the present funeral home scene and the past Hill House scenes, showing the visions of Hugh (played by Timothy Hutton in present time and Henry Thomas in past time) and the strong conflict that the siblings have with Steven (Michiel Huisman), who published a book inspired by their experiences.
Now, onto what makes this episode so fantastic.
This episode is comprised of multiple long-take shots throughout it, including the opening 16 minutes. No cuts from one character to the other. No multiple angles. Just one camera gliding effortlessly through these actors as they deliver their lines. It’s as if the series is putting on a theatrical performance. A filmed play where no actor can rely on a cut and yell “Line!” This entire cast had to know every single line of dialog and potential blocking in order to nail this scene. If one messed up, no matter where they were in the scene, they would end up having to start from the beginning and try again.
It is a lot of work but when done accurately, results in a well-delivered piece of cinematic genius. The eye of series creator Mike Flanagan flying his camera in and around these family members. The actors showing their dedication to their craft by memorizing page after page of important dialog and going as long as they did, never skipping a beat regarding staying in character. This entire process makes for a smooth episode that keeps the viewers’ attention throughout.
Related – Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House Trailer: This Modern Reimagining Looks Magical In The Darkest Way Possible
Flanagan, who will be writing and directing the sequel to The Shining, titled Doctor Sleep, can easily use this episode as well as the entire series as his calling card from now on. If you haven’t yet, I fully recommend you have a seat and watch this. It’s THAT good.