The Haunting of Hill House
★ ★ ★ ★
The Haunting of Hill House is a modern Netflix adaptation of the classic Shirley Jackson novel from 1959. This supernatural horror drama will have you absolutely glued to the screen. Originally released in 2018, this series is one of the easiest recommendations that can be made. The show tells the story of the Crain family, who buy a new house in the hopes of making it their ‘forever-home’. However, as the nights go on, a mysterious terror starts to torment the family. The show is set in the present day with the now-adult Crain children trying to control their chaotic lives. Through a series of flashbacks we explore the life of the distressed children as they try to comprehend the horror lingering in the shadows. If you are a fan of the horror genre, The Haunting of Hill House will blow you away; it is terrifying to the core.
★ ★ ★ ★
Marianne is a fantastically terrifying, yet quirky French television series. As we lead up to Halloween, this is definitely a must watch. We follow our protagonist Emma Larsimon, an author who has been exiled from her hometown of Elden. Her bestselling series of novels “Lizzie Larck” seem to be straying from the page, and Emma must return to her hometown in order to find out the cause of this anarchy. The show is extremely innovative, combining an original story with beautiful cinematography. It uses a range of refreshingly colourful shots, bucking the trend that the pallet of the horror genre has to be bleak and drab. This is a show that is not afraid of experimentation; it is always keeping you guessing as to where the plot is going to turn next.
The Cabin in the Woods
★ ★ ★
The Cabin in the Woods is a wondrous example of the evolution of the horror genre. In this film we see a blend of horror and comedy as we follow a group of friends that go on vacation to a remote forest cabin. All is not what it seems, however, and the group begin to be tortured by a series of classic horror clichés. Now, this is not a strike against the movie as it uses these clichés in an extremely innovative and original way. The Cabin in the Woods is not a brilliant movie by any means, but it is such a fun and easy watch that any viewer would enjoy. The story itself is ridiculous; not leaving you with a week of nightmares but with a week of laughs.
★ ★ ★
A failing author, a family being held together by a promise; Sinister is the story of true crime writer Ellison Oswalt who has moved his family into a home with a haunting past in an attempt to save his writing career. Sinister blends horror with mystery as Ellison tries to unravel the mystery of the house and its former inhabitants. The film has an interesting story but fails to truly terrify, as it leans heavily into the mystery aspect of its genre. Despite this, Sinister gets a recommendation for this October due to the fact that on a measly film budget of only $3 million, Sinister succeeds where many blockbuster horrors fail by providing an entertaining watch that doesn’t feel too tropey in an era saturated with uninspired horror.
Brendan O’Brien – Film & TV Writer