Of all the entries in Netflix’s original programming library, horror is represented by only a small handful of TV shows and movies, with Stranger Things as the obvious standout. Mercifully, the future is always ahead and available for more genre fare to come through, and the streaming giant has added an extremely interesting addition to its upcoming TV slate with the straight-to-series order for a modern-day reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s seminal classic The Haunting of Hill House. While I’d probably grumble about yet another Haunting remake in most other iterations, my spirits are high on this one.
In the first place, anything that Netflix touches with a horror bent is going to get my approving interest, and an episodic take on Hill House guided and inspired by Shirley Jackson could give TV the top-notch ghost story audiences don’t even know they need. Netflix is giving the series ten poltergeist-filled episodes , which is shorter than the usual 13-strong set that most shows get, but works out for making storytelling tighter in many cases. It hails from Paramount TV and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV, with the latter’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey letting their fandom guide them to bringing this adaptation to life, as it were.
Published in 1959, The Haunting of Hill House set the bar for a lot of “paranormal activity” narratives that followed, and offered up the fairly simple set-up of a group of people coming together in the titular haunted house to put its phenomena to the test. Updating the material is understandable, as the work was already spun into two other adaptations, and the as-yet-untitled Netflix take on The Haunting of Hill House will boast the stellar creative backing of Mike Flanagan, who’s been responsible for some of more effective genre efforts of the past decade.
Though his first few films weren’t meant to give people the creeps, Mike Flanagan shifted over to horror for the mileage-may-vary lineup of Absentia, Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake and Ouija: Origin of Evil. (That would be the surprisingly spooky sequel to the far more derivative first flick.) Here, Flanagan would once again be writing and directing, and it’s perhaps indicative of a good relationship between the filmmaker and Netflix, which distributed last year’s silence-oriented Hush.
Robert Wise’s 1963 film and Jan de Bont’s 1999 films were both simply called The Haunting, but only one of them made the list of Martin Scorsese’s favorite scary movies. (And it definitely wasn’t the over-wrought later version.) This modernized project has more than enough room to fail, but Netflix has shown its confidence with the straight-to-series order, and I’m inclined to also be confident. Just, you know, without also throwing millions of dollars into it.
It’s not clear when Netflix’s Hill House update will make its way into your own houses, but loads of other shows are hitting the streaming service in the coming months, which you can see thanks to our 2017 Netflix rundown. And for everything else the small screen has to offer, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.