The Haunting of Hill House
Season 1 Episode 5
The Bent Neck Lady
Nellie Crain is tormented in Hill House by constant visions of a floating dead woman with a broken neck who is screaming at her. Visions of the woman have a tendency to freeze Nellie in place, making her unable to move.
As an adult, Nellie tries several ways to deal with the visions and the subsequent sleep paralysis she suffers because of them. One of the technicians, a man named Arthur, hits it off with Nellie and the two fall in love. Visions of the bent neck lady subside, but Nellie still suffers from paralysis. Arthur is there to help her and the two eventually get married. When tragedy strikes, Nellie finds herself in a spiral of paranoia, anger, pain and desperation that leads her back to Hill House and a revelation about the Bent Neck Lady that is one of the highlights of the season so far.
This episode is one of the best of the season. We finally get to see the events that lead Nellie back to the house and the reveal of who the Bent Neck Lady is was both shocking and surreal. It added so many layers to both the episode and the series. I loved this episode both for the superb acting of the cast, especially Victoria Pedretti, but also the amazing visuals used in a surreal journey through moments in Nellie’s life. Moments that connect the past and present for the viewer.
The episode was paced beautifully a well. Giving the audience the chance to follow Nellie from the best moments in her life to the lowest points in her grief helped to make Nellie a sympathetic character that the viewer cares about. An amazing episode that I want to revisit because it stands on its own as an interesting episode of television.