Spoiler Alert: The Haunting of Hill House (Review)

The Haunting of Hill House (Season 1) is a ten-episode American horror / supernatural TV series created by Mike Flanagan. Somehow based on the 1959 novel with the same title by Shirley Jackson which premiered on Neflix on the 12th of October 2018.

When this first came to Netflix, we started watching episode one but then we had to stop because we’ve got an early morning. The next day, we couldn’t wait til late night to finally start the second episode. My husband and I agreed, this is one hell of a Netflix series! We decided not to binge watch because we’re afraid to run out of episodes. I began messaging my sisters about the series being that I am always the first one to discover life’s goodness and to my surprise, both of them have finished the series and can’t wait til I do so we can apparently discuss our theories and wishes for the story.

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My favorite character is Shirley. Funny because my sister would tease me that I am a textbook Shirley. I liked her but when I am being likened to her, I am not so sure if it was a good thing.

Shirley Crain Harris is the eldest daughter of the family. She owns a mortuary with her husband Kevin and has a son and daughter. She is responsible and too composed.

The eldest among siblings is Steven Crain. As a grown man he’s an author, famous for writing about his family’s experience at Hill House. He is writing it the way others have remembered the story. He didn’t know what was real based on his own recollection because when they escaped the Hill House, his dad made him close his eyes. He was sheltered as a kid. His dad has protected him from the horror of the house. He is somewhat aware about what’s happened to their family and has attributed the occurrences to mental disease due to his cynicism and non-belief. Although his character has been well built up, I hated Steven.

The middle child of the five is Theodora “Theo” Crain. She is a child psychologist who is an empath like her mother (although I didn’t hear them mention the term empath within the series); they have rather referred to her gift as being “sensitive.” She wears gloves to prevent touching another person and experiencing psychic knowledge about them. It was her mom that has given her the first pair of gloves to use. It will later be revealed that she would ditch the gloves, perhaps fully claiming her gift?

And then there’s Luke Crain who is the older twin of Nell. He struggles with addiction as an adult to push out his memories of Hill House.

Of course, Nell Crain, the youngest among the Crains — she’s beautiful and thoughtful. She has been the one who would always gather the siblings all together. One of the main events in this series was Nell’s wedding. It will be later revealed that she married her sleep technician being that she’s got the worst sleep disorder. Nell suffered from sleep paralysis. However, some time in the series, her husband dies of an apparent aneurysm.

The freakiest among the characters is the mom, Olivia Crain. She is the one who designs houses. She, along with her daughter Nell, are among the most affected by the paranormal activity in the house.

The dad, Hugh Crain is the builder who flips houses. He is the most selfless character in the story. I loved how his sole purpose is to protect his children from the horrific experience and memories of the Hill House. It will later be revealed that he has an estranged relations with his children and this is not because of the non-affection on his part.

There are some recurring characters as well:

  • Clara Dudley  – She, along with her husband, Horace Dudley are the caretakers of the house and help the Crains in their efforts to revamp the mansion
  • Kevin Harris is Shirley’s husband who becomes caught in the middle of a sibling war between Steven and Shirley who refuses to receive a cut from Steven’s book sales referring to it as blood money. Shirley will discover that her husband had been receiving money all along. The secret was being kept by Theo, Steven and Kevin
  • Leigh Crain is Steven’s wife. I could not shake the fact that she is Penny from Grey’s Anatomy so I kind of disliked her too much. Her character seemed unnecessary for me, perhaps a bias?
  • Trish Park has appeared several times in the series, she is Theo’s fling
  • Ryan who is an apparition from Shirley’s memory. I was so confused whether he is a ghost but then they had this metaphor on ghosts to be our guilt and dreams etc…
  • The Funeral Director
  • Joey who is a recovering addict that Luke tries to help. Somehow a love interest  but was quite unclear because her character was too small
  • Arthur Vance, Nell’s husband (the one who died of aneurysm)
  • Poppy Hill, one of the ghosts inhabiting Hill House, wife of William Hill and considered insane when alive. She is the one being referred to as the one who lies.
  • William Hill, former owner of Hill House who went insane and bricked himself behind a wall; appears as Tall Man/Bowler Hat Man
  • Abigail, daughter of Clara and Horace Dudley. You will get confused whether she’s a real person or one of the ghosts
  • Aunt Janet, sister of Olivia Crain. She appeared to have been the one who raised the Crain kids
  • The man who fixes the clock; who is a ghost which will later be revealed to Steven, him having thought that he was an actual person – one of the workers his dad commissioned to work inside the house

The story is kind of freaky in almost all aspects. It gives an effect similar to the Murder House of AHS. I mean the concept of those dying inside it gets trapped in the house. At first I thought it was just the Hills because I didn’t see any other ghosts but when Abigail died (in the same night that Olivia killed herself), the Dudleys made it quite clear that they didn’t want to harm the house being that there are things that do not solely belong to Hugh Crain therefore, they just requested that Hugh keeps mum about it and that he keeps the Dudleys as the caretakers so they can continue seeing their daughter Abigail.

Additionally, it was also shown that the present day Horace had to rush (while carrying his wife) to reach the house. Clara, the wife seemed to be dying because Horace had to carefully state that “they made it” which means, they made it to the house and that the wife can die inside the Hill House so they can be all together, the baby, Abigail and Clara. I can only assume that Horace would kill himself or if he isn’t that kind of person, he’d wait to die in the house as well.

There’s this infamous red room. The thing is, “no one can enter that room no matter how hard they all tried to open it.” BUT apparently, everyone has been inside that room. Reminds me of the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter, If you have to ask you’ll never know. If you know you need only ask”  roomofrequirementda

So yeah. Theo needed a dance studio – the red room. Steven needed a game room, there goes the red room. Shirley thinks it’s the family room. Olivia all along has been going there because that’s her reading room. It was also Nell’s playroom and of course, the tree house for Luke. It was carefully emphasized to Steven by his dad, “I did not build a tree house!” How freaky was that? The red room becomes anything you want it to be albeit for real, it was molding and was the actual source of the rotting.  Seems like our dear old daddy has become an all-knowing dad through the years. Despite the verbal confirmation from Hugh Crain, Steven being Steven seemed to be fighting the desire to believe. Until they all went back to the house to find Luke. Only to see him inside the red room which will eventually allow Steven to enter, same goes for Theo and Shirley. They were all there trying to revive Luke who will survive overdose from rat poison (the longevity of that rat poison amazes me!) but they would essentially have short revelations, one of which was Shirley’s fling with that guy who always appears like a ghost on almost every creepy scene that only Shirley’s in. This memory will be elaborately narrated by Ryan, the guy from her memory. While inside the red room, Nell would have a monologue about it. About how their mom told them that every part of the house corresponds to a body part and that how the red room is the stomach of the house.

After saving Luke, the siblings had to take him to the hospital but their father had to ask Steven to stay. He was asked to stay for him to witness the phantom reenactment of the night his mom died. I admired how Hugh still tried to protect the present day Steve treating him like he was still a child. I felt a little pinch when Hugh asked him not to look and to just look at him (dad) instead because The Tall Man was actually on his face. He did not want for Steven to see that.  Steven had to relive how it happened and seeing how his mother killed herself gave him the realization. It all dawned to him, everything that he’s been trying to repress. It was also revealed that Hugh has died earlier on. He’s finally gotten inside the red room with Olivia and Nell.

The story seemed complete. For me, it’s finished. I don’t see how a second season is possible, perhaps with a different family then? Perhaps the Hills? Who knows. But if it’ll be as good as how season 1 is done, why the hell not, right?!

It was a happy ending, not the one that we’ve been thinking. Although we’re kind of fed up of these insanely sad endings that’s become a trend in this decade. I appreciate how they’ve given comfort to the viewers that they’d somehow get to live a normal life.

Plus points: The scoring was perfect. I won’t ever forget Theo and Shirley’s car scene. That did it for me aside from several other hysterical scenes.

I give this 5 stars without hesitating!

Image: RoR gif was from HERE and the poster was from Google Images, one of Netflix’s promo materials

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Grey’s Anatomy Overdose

Whenever Grey’s Anatomy is on break, I have this habit of rerunning the series from Season 1. Now it’s resumed, I still continue rerunning it so I am watching both the old and current episodes. I do this weirdness yearly so my son who is turning 5 has technically seen me do this cycle for almost 5 years now excluding conception.

I was watching the episode where Yang caught a giant trout while fishing with Derek. My son while playing asked, “mommy is that Cristina?” and I was like, WT! My son can keep up with my freakish obsession with Grey’s Anatomy! I wonder how I can explain to him Cristina’s departure though…

My favorite Grey’s Anatomy Characters:
Cristina Yang and Alex Karev
Least favorite Grey’s Anatomy Characters:
Lexie Grey (everything about her), Teddy Altman (snake), Derek Shepherd (gloomy), Amelia Shepherd (exaggerated), Izzie Stevens (pathetic)
Favorite Meredith Relationships:
Finn Dandridge (kind) / Nathan Riggs (sexy)
Grey’s Anatomy Fantasy:
Alex and Meredith will end up together. Cristina returns to Owen. George is not dead apparently and returns with Izzie and their love child. Miranda retires early to spend time with Tuck Jr, Jackson and Maggie will get married. Owen becomes the Chief once again and Richard becomes Chairman of the Board.

Yeah yeah, Riggs and Mer won’t happen unless there’s an alternate universe that will allow for Meredith to be happy, finally. But come on, they are perfect together. He is the only one who pursued Meredith in a non-entitled way (UNLIKE DEREK SHEPHERD!!! Like it’s an honor to be pursued by him), well ok… there’s Finn too and that’s why I liked him for Mer as well.

I know this TV series have gone a long way and I can smell its nearing demise. I just wish it isn’t going too be over really soon. I am not ready yet! I wonder if I’d ever gonna find a new show as good as this one.

Nikita

Nikita is an American television series that aired on The CW from September 9, 2010 to December 27, 2013 in the United States. The series is a reboot of the popular 1997 TV series La Femme Nikita (itself based on the 1990 Luc Besson film Nikita).

The series focuses on Nikita (Maggie Q), a woman who escaped from a secret government-funded organization known as “Division” and, after a three-year hiding period, is back to bring down the organization.

Division was created and supervised by an organization called Oversight, a very powerful group composed of the best in business and well, politics. Division is responsible for black operations including espionage, sabotage, and assassination. Under the leadership of its first Director and founding member, Percival “Percy” Rose, Division has gone rogue and performs under-the-table murder-for-hire. To protect himself, Percy has created a series of ‘black boxes’, hard drives containing every job Division has ever done, as leverage to prevent Oversight from removing himself and/or ending Division. Percy’s black boxes are hidden in secret locations around the world, under the protection of Guardians, high-ranking and well-trained Division agents.

Review on the Characters:

Nikita Mears – Played by Maggie Q. Her fiercely beautiful look indeed graced the character of being a honey-trap assassin. She deceives targets by her beauty. The only problem I see in her character is the fact that she is so tiny to save the day from nuclear attack and biological weaponry. I mean, I am just being realistic. Why is she getting this eternal credits? She is with a team but she’s the only one who received the presidential award.

Michael Bishop – Had I not thought of doing a review on the characters, I wouldn’t have known that Michael had a surname. Nikita’s case is pretty much the same until the last season where they kept mentioning her full name but with Michael, I don’t recall anyone spoke about him and his surname. His name sounded like a balladeer. He’s pretty lame. I don’t like that Batman-ish voice. Michael talks a lot so, a lot of that voice didn’t really give justice to his character.

Amanda/ Hellen Collins – Yet another weird character. Her obsession over Nikita’s capture totally made the story wacked in every way. It would have been better if we set aside the crazy! It’s always better to have tactical fights and intelligent quests to rule the world but Amanda? She is just a total nut job.

Alexandra Udinov – What’s with the ever changing pronunciation of her name? I mean, I would understand if it’s being spoken by 3 different people but it’s Alex over and over again who kept saying it differently. It does not really matter but her voice is just so irritating for someone who speaks often. Why can’t they all speak like Maggie Q? Anyhow, she is so pretty and they probably got the right face for the character. I just wish the Lyndsy didn’t speak like she’s declaiming all the time. It would have been more fun.

Seymour Birkhoff – or Lionel Peller. One of the characters that I really did love. Him being a total nerd is so obvious in a way that doesn’t seem to try so hard. He perfectly fits the profile of a criminally intelligent computer programmer that somehow makes me think, if Aaron Stanford can really hack into the CIA.

Owen Elliot – or Sam Matthews. Played by Devon Sawa. He was a former Guardian who had a heart and fell in love with Emily (played by the immortal, Bianca Lawson who seem to never get over her age bracket). Anyhoo, Owen is an ex guardian, ex-soldier who is so talented and skilled being a military man and a guy who is designated to protect one of the black boxes that apparently, can destroy the world. His psychological damage done by Amanda made his character so interesting and the fact that it is well-portrayed, he became one of my favorite characters. I am a little biased because this is Devon Sawa we’re talking about.

Ryan Fletcher – Although almost all TV series of the same nature has a conspiracy nut like Ryan, I’d say he made it a lot special because he’s not bad on the eyes. I remember Birkhoff’s anecdote calling him mini Ethan Hunt because he does look like Tom Cruise. His character was so endearing being all pure and good. I wish there’s a lot of Ryan in the government.

Percy Rose- He is that old dude who never seemed to lose a physical fight regardless who’s attacking him. He is clever and super evil. I wonder why they terminated his character that early. He would have been a better villain of course alongside Roan (He is that very cool assassin who apparently is Percy’s right hand man).

I won’t write a lot about the twist and turns of this TV series because it’s all up to you to decide. This is a good one and I am lucky to have discovered it, thanks to my friend who referred this to me.

I give Nikita 4 stars.It could have been 4.5 or 5 if it weren’t for the “forced 4th season feels”. It would have been better ending it on season 3’s last episode. Oh well, it’s hard to say no to fans, I suppose. It would have been better also if there were less cheesy moments between Michael and Nikita. But all in all, I loved it and I feel sad it ended. I hated how quickly I’ve completed the episodes, I am such a couchie.