Netflix’s original programming team has demonstrated real dominance in nostalgic 1980s throwback science fiction, stand-up comedy specials, feature films that other studios don’t want to release, and just about every genre you can imagine. Now it’s about to seriously go after horror, judging from the trailer for the new series The Haunting of Hill House, which looks like a creepy, unnerving journey through some kid’s nightmares.
The show comes from writer-director Mike Flanagan, who previously turned the Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game into a feature film for Netflix. (My colleague Tasha Robinson thought it was a solid, memorable adaptation.) With The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan is adapting the classic 1959 horror novel from author Shirley Jackson, but it appears that he’s changed it quite a bit. The novel follows a paranormal investigator who rents out the famed Hill House in an effort to study the supernatural, inviting along several people with histories of spooky encounters. That story was more or less adapted faithfully in two feature films, with the 1963 version from director Robert Wise, called simply The Haunting, largely considered a scary cult classic. (The 1999 remake with Liam Neeson, not so much.)
But Flanagan appears to be going in a different direction. In this version, there’s a group of siblings who grew up in Hill House, and when tragedy strikes, the family is forced to go back to the haunted mansion and revisit the horrors they once experienced there. The series appears to focus to some degree on the trauma that the siblings endured due to their childhoods, adding an emotional and character-centric component that seems well-suited as a premise for an ongoing series. And if it’s anything like Flanagan’s work — or this trailer — it will be moody, unsettling, and maybe just a little bit terrifying.
The first 10-episode season of The Haunting of Hill House premieres on October 12th.