The Haunting of Hill House
Season 1 Episode 1
Steven Sees A Ghost
The first episode of this series is very atmospheric. Every muted color in the palette is used and the only stark color on display is the red of a door in the house that seems to be the focal point for many of the mysteries.
The episode is about the Crain children both as young kids and adults. The family moves into Hill House with the prospect of renovating and selling the gothic manor. The two youngest children Luke and Nell seem to be the ones who are the most prone to seeing the supernatural elements of the house at work. As kids, a tragedy caused their father Hugh to spirit them away from the home in the middle of the night with the children’s mother Olivia left behind and presumed to have committed suicide.
As adults, the kids are scattered and separated from each other living their separate lives until Nell calls them saying that she needs to talk. She manages to get in touch with her father Hugh and lies about her whereabouts because she has returned to Hill House.
I really liked this first episode. I think story-wise, establishing both sides of the mystery really helped draw me in. I want to know about the events that drove the family from the house in the first place. I want to know what happened to Olivia. I want to know what compelled Nell to return to the house and what happened to her when she arrived alone. I also want to know what happens to bring the adult children and their father back to Hill House and what they will find when they arrive.
There are so many interesting mysteries being established in this first episode as well as intriguing and interesting characters like Mrs. Dudley. Annabeth Gish is splendid as Mrs. Dudley and she plays her scene as someone who knows far more about the forces in the house then she lets on. Her interaction in that scene with Olivia is amazingly tense. The final scene in the episode immediately and viscerally hooked my attention and lured me into watching the next episode.
The first episode of The Haunting of Hill House is scary, moody and endlessly interesting.