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Meagan Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

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Netflix recently released blood-tingling hit The Haunting of Hill House (8.9 on IMDb, 92% on Rotten Tomatoes). Directed by Mike Flanagan, the show is especially spooky—and very addicting—due to its electrifying jump scares, gripping flashbacks to dark times, and hair-raising music.

The Haunting of Hill House explores the experiences of a family of seven that move into a historic, under renovation house. Of course, any old house comes with creaks and bumps in the night, but this family experiences entities darker than ever imagined. Each family member, it seems, has an individual demon attached to them, which leaves their minds altered and scarred. The family must stick together to conquer these nightmares.

Jump scares, of course, are common to horror, but Flanagan uses a subtle technique to scare the audience to tears. Instead of demons and other chilling characters jumping out from behind curtains, he strategically places frightening imagery in the background of what seems to be a normal setting.

In one particular scene, the mother and three daughters sit around the kitchen table casually eating breakfast and discuss terrors they experienced the night prior. In the background, a creepy set of eyes eerily watches the family through the window. With this steady presence, a sense of doom grows.

Contributing to the already horrifying jump scares, spooky sound tracks are placed perfectly to make each scene seem unbearably alarming. Drawn out sharp notes on the piano and gradual deep tones increase in volume contribute a sense of terror to every move the family makes. The ghostly music completes the show and achieves spine-chilling reactions.

What sets The Haunting of Hill House apart from any other horror show is the use of family flashbacks to unveil the true terrors and drama of the house. The children of Hill House are shown as grown ups, but they recall their darkest times growing up within the walls of the house. The first five episodes each focus on one individual child, and flashbacks serve to slowly piece the plot together from childhood to adulthood.

When a flashback occurs, new details are uncovered about the family’s troubles and personal views. Specifically, the first episode centers around the eldest child of Hill House, Stephen, the only sibling that believes nothing spiritual ever occurred to the family. A flashback then reveals Stephen as a child closing his eyes to avoid any terrifying entities inside the house, blocking him from what the rest of his family experienced. As he recalls this experience, adult Stephen begins to question his beliefs.

Netflix has certainly outdone itself with this especially eerie show. The Haunting of Hill House is a hair-raising hit that is definitely binge worthy.