Does this haunted house make or break the family?

Heather Glass

The word family is a comforting, deep, and intense, word that I have really learned about after watching the show “The Haunting of the Hill House”. I know that sounds contradicting, but this horror show brought out emotions in just 10 episodes that were so conflicting. As you can probably guess, this show is about a family, the Crain’s, of 7 who are living in a haunted house, but not the typical “haunted” you would expect. It’s haunted by each character’s own demons mostly, along with left over spirits in the house. There are 5 children who have all experience a variety of messed up situations that some could argue are real, and some could argue that it’s all in their head and that they are sick. A big factor in this show is that the oldest brother thinks the family has a hereditary mental illness, meanwhile the rest think that they are just different. The things these individuals go through basically takes over their life one by one, starting with the mother who commits suicide on the last night of the family being in the house. This extremely devasting loss of their mother leads each child to experience their own sorrow in different ways. Throughout the whole entire show, it goes back and fourth between the current time they are living in and their past. This whole family is different, most would say they were “crazy” but as a family they all know that they are not like most. The Haunting of the Hill house reveals the hardships, pain, tragedies, and everything in between that families endure. However, the real question is, did this house sculpt the family or ruin it.

The Haunting of Hill House

Family is the scariest of all
After reviewing a previous article written by Libby Hill about this show, the author was proving her point that family is the scariest part, and that this show is more about tragedy rather than horror. She goes on to mention that all the children move on in life but are still brutally scarred because of their family. I can’t help but get upset, even angry, when I read that. Throughout this whole series, this family had each other’s back even at the darkest of times. None of them ever completely cut strings, even if they tried they could not do it fully because that’s not what family is about. As a matter of fact, even when one of them is dead, they are still present. Throughout this show they do not have many others in their lives besides each other. There is definitely a lot of damage within the family, because of all that they’ve been through with growing up and constantly seeing things and losing their mother to suicide. They can be angry and spiteful, and that is revealed in many scenes. For example, when there is another tragic loss within the family, Nell, who also commits suicide, the family is mad because they already went through the suicide of their mother. During episode 8 when they are all at the funeral home, everything is lashed out between the siblings and father. But at the very last second of any day, they are all each other has which they are aware of and I think this show does a great job about showing the true aspects of a family. A family does not need to experience a tragic loss, or a devasting happening for them become extremely close, however the Crain family has been through it all, and they have had each other’s back every step of the way. This family stands out because of how close they all are, it is rare for all siblings to care and love the way each of these characters do. 

It’s a Twin Thing
The youngest two in the family, Nell and Luke, are inseparable from the beginning, born just 80 seconds apart. They understand each other on a different level compared to the rest of the family. Throughout their lives they’ve been attached at the hip, if one is hurt, the other feels pain, if one is happy the other is suddenly happy. After seeing this between Nell and Luke it reminded me of how a lot of families are. Age is a big factor in how relationships are amongst siblings. For me personally, my brother is 10 years older than, whereas my sisters are 3 and 7 years apart from me. My sister and I are Luke and Nell, we get each other more because were closer in age. Later in the show you see Nell and Luke both enter a dark path of their lives in different ways. Luke has gotten into drugs and has been in and out of rehab; meanwhile Nell is hitting rock bottom and cannot seem to get a grasp on life and reality. This life is devasting and unfortunately common. Many families go through rough patches whether it is losing someone, watching a loved one go through pain, or any other thing that could be considered bad. It does not make them a crazy family though, if anything it makes them stronger and closer. It makes everything feel bearable because you have each other. Nell and Luke are the perfect example of an inseparable bond that they are lucky to have.

The theme of this show isn’t just about the horror, or the path that life has taken the characters, it is the house and atmosphere that they grew up in that has led them through their journey. Going off that, the environment an individual grows up in is what sculpts that person. The hill house sculpted this family, in great and bad ways. A great way being the incredible bonds they have with each other. They can feel when someone is in danger with a sign, which of course is just a made-up thing that this show has. However, gut feeling is not a made-up thing, and it is true that you can get a gut feeling when something is wrong. There is no evidence to prove that, but I think we all know the gut instinct that I am talking about. However, this house has also sculpted these individuals in bad ways as well. The hill house has caused a lot of pain and wounds that cannot be healed. This family has gone through so much all because of this house. However, it is not the family itself that has caused all this damage, it is the atmosphere they have all grown up in. Another reason to go against Libby Hill’s argument that family is the reason for all of this is that this film started once they moved into this place, not when they were born or when the parents got married or got pregnant, so to say that the show is about a haunted family is not true because of how the film starts. Although it does show how the individuals are broken later on in life, it does not show how the family is because they really never separated. The house is definitely what changed their life, this show is about a haunted house, not a haunted family.

Beginning to end
Not every family is lucky enough to have a close bond with one another, whether it is between the siblings or the one child and parent, whatever it may be, it is never guaranteed that there will be a close relationship. However, I am a firm believer that family is there from beginning to end. Maybe that has to do with how I grew up, or the bonds I have with my siblings. The Crain family has proven that all throughout this show, they have been through horrible losses and have seen traumatizing things, but that never changed the way they were there for each other during everything that happened. So when it comes down to it, I think that this haunted house helped sculpt this family. Yes, it ruined a lot for them it ruined their happiness and the way they look at life as whole, but it never ruined the family’s bond. Even when there were people missing from the unit, they were all still one whole unit together. That is what family is about and that is why I really enjoyed this show. It reveals the ups and downs that every family has to go through, some more than others. It shows their life when everything was well and healthy and also shows their life when it took a complete 360. Nothing can change that fact that they were strong from beginning to end. This show stood out to me in many different ways, it was extremely unqiue and not like a basic haunted house and definitely not a basic family. It left me with conflicting emotions as well, terrified, sad, sentimental, etc. But the main part of this show that I cannot let go of is the way the family made me feel, it was comforting to me to watch a family go through such extents and still be loving and caring towards another.

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