Book vs. Netflix Series: The Haunting of Hill House Review

Arts & Culture – The Aggie

How the show relates to, differs from the book

“The Haunting of Hill House” is a new Netflix original series loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name. The novel, published in 1959, follows a woman named Eleanor “Nell” Vance, who lives unhappily with her sister and brother-in-law after the death of her mother, whom she took care of for many miserable years. Eleanor is excited for a new start when she is invited to live in Hill House along with the future heir Luke Sanderson and the psychic Theodora. The three are lead by researcher Dr. Montague to observe the house and make note of any supernatural occurrences.

The 10-hour Netflix series follows a different plot. Set in the present day, the series features the Crain family as it deals with painful memories of the brief summer they lived at Hill House. Told through flashbacks, the story of the family begins when they move into the house with the goal of renovating and reselling it. Hugh Crain and his wife Olivia raise five young children: Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke and Nell.

As in Shirley Jackson’s novel, Hill House is undeniably evil, a fact that becomes apparent to some of the Crains faster than others. Though as adults they live far away from one another and Hill House, the house’s malice continues to haunt the Crain family with both literal manifestations and dealings of grief, mental illness and addiction.

While the story of the series diverges greatly from that of the novel, there are several similarities that pay homage to Jackson’s novel. Mike Flanagan, the director of the series, based several of the Crain children on characters from the novel. Like Jackson’s Nell, Nell Crain is the family member mostaffected by Hill House’s ghosts and madness, and both struggle with intense feelings of …

Read more