The scariest part of The Haunting of Hill House isn't actually the ghosts.


Warning: This post contains some spoilers for The Haunting of Hill House. 

When I sat down to watch The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix I expected a few things.

A haunted house.


Jump scares.

At least one scary looking woman with long dark hair and a white dress.

And a convoluted back story about said haunted house.

Watch the trailer below…

Netflix’s latest horror series definitely delivered all those things, but The Haunting of Hill House is much more than a horror story.

The series, which was created and directed by Hush’s Mike Flanagan, is like This Is Us meets Hereditary meets Sharp Objects.

It’s an unflinching look at how trauma can haunt a family and tear them apart, no matter how hard they try to leave it in the past.

The series tells the story of the Crain family, who move into an unsettling, sprawling mansion in the early 90s with the intention of renovating it, flipping it, and using the money to build their “forever house”.

Hugh (Henry Thomas) the patriarch of the family, and his wife Olivia (Carla Gugino) are determined to create a better life for their five children –  Steven (Paxton Singleton), Shirley (Lulu Wilson), Theodora (Mckenna Grace), and twins Nell and Luke (Violet McGraw and Julian Hilliard).


However, as soon as they move into Hill House they can tell something isn’t quite right.

The children are complaining of seeing ghosts in the night and Olivia is becoming increasing withdrawn and scattered.

Within a matter of weeks, tragedy strikes and most of the family members flee the house in the middle of the night. But they can never really escape it.

The series flips between the 90s and the present day – where we meet the older versions of the Crain children, who are all struggling with their own demons.

We see innocent little six-year-old Luke who just wants to draw in his tree house, become a 30-something heroin addict who steals from his own siblings to feed his affliction.

His twin sister, Nell, goes from being a curious young girl to a grieving widow, haunted by the image of a “bent neck lady” she’s been seeing since her childhood.

Steven has made a living writing about Hill House, but in doing so has fallen out with the very family he’s writing about.

Shirley is now a mortician, she lives in a funeral home with her husband and two kids but is hiding a dark secret. And Theodora tries to drown out her past with boozy one night stands.

When tragedy once again strikes the family in the present day, they are finally forced to confront their past and to look deeper into what actually happened at Hill House 26 years ago.

The Haunting of Hill House is at its core a story about trauma, grief and mental illness, and how that grief and mental illness can not only tear a family apart, but ultimately bind them together forever.

While the ghosts in Netflix’s latest horror series will give you a momentary scare, the trauma the Crain family endure will haunt you long after the final credits roll.