If you finished Netflix’s new supernatural family drama The Haunting of Hill House, you probably have lots of questions and need some tissues. If you haven’t finished the series yet STOP READING THIS and go finish it! THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!
Going into Hill House I knew next to nothing about it other than the fact that it was based on a book by author Shirley Jackson that was later adapted to a loosely based film with Vincent Price and then later in the 90s with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones called “The Haunting.”
Despite being an even looser adaption, Mike Flanagan‘s The Haunting of Hill House is a family drama first and supernatural horror story second. Flanagan has crafted a landmark in horror television with this series the is told throughout 10 episodes. We all know by now about the ghosts hidden throughout the series in the backgrounds, but after watching the final episodes there are still some lingering questions about the series and its ending. Check out these videos below that might clear up some of the confusion:
The #HauntingofHillHouse is a pretty complex show filled with heavy symbolism, overarching themes, and multiple strange scenes all intertwined together to make something truly equally memorable and horrifying. But if you are confused about some of the stuff that happened in the series, including the ending and what the infamous Red Room is, I’m here to break it all down. This video will be split into sections to avoid confusion. I’ll delve into the Hill House itself, the meaning of the Bent Neck Lady, how the Dudleys play a role in the story, what happened to Carla Gugino’s character Olivia, and of course the ending and the red room. So let’s start with the house itself. It’s pure evil and is often described as this living organism that feeds off of the people that live in there. Now, the show never explains why Hill House is so haunted in the first place, and this lack of explanation is what makes it so frightening. It’s haunted because, well, it just is, like the mansion in the Shining. Some things just can’t be explained.
The Haunting Of Hill House: Ending Explained: How The House Won, The Red Room, Dudleys + More by Deffinition.
Hill House And The Red Room Hill House
Hill House itself is pure evil. Whilst we are never given a concrete explanation to its powers, the house is able to bring forth hallucinations, act as a refuge for the dead and bend space and time. The house’s main goal is to feed on the living so that it can continue to thrive. It does this by driving people to the brink of misery so that they take their own lives. Throughout the show, the house is purposely creating custom curated ghosts and specters that pray on the Crain family’ worst fears. Each ghoul and apparition has been designed with one goal in mind, to bring the family back to the Red Room, which is the houses’ stomach, so that it can feast on them.
During the show, the house purposely twists and repurposes the Red Room so that it appears to be a safe area in which each member of The Crain family can relax and be digested. To Luke it is a tree house, Steve sees a games Room, Olivia a reading room and so on. It is a room which is tailor-made towards them so that they can feel some sense of sanity whilst also being driven insane. Originally home to the Hill family, it managed to murder most of them, even going so far as to cause William Hill to brick himself behind a wall out of fear which brings me to my next point. The house’ greatest trick is that it makes people wall themselves off from the world and tricks them into believing that they are safe within it so they refuse to leave. It does this successfully to Olivia Crain and almost fools her into murdering her two youngest children. She does, however, manage to get The Dudley’s daughter Abigail which plays into the next part.
In the final episode, we learn that the father, Hugh, almost burnt down the house but was stayed from doing so by The Dudleys. After Olivia murdered their daughter Abigail, they realized that the house had kept her spirit alive and if it were to be destroyed, their daughter would go with it. So, they make a deal with the devil and convince Hugh to abstain from setting it alight. To me, this is another trick that the house pulls, just as it is about to be destroyed it manages to manipulate the Dudleys into pulling at the heartstrings of Hugh and put him in a position where he would have to be a monster to deny them. It’s a smart move that I haven’t seen many people pick up on and it allows the house to continue to trick the Crains into coming back so it can feast on them once more. The saying is that the house always is definitely true here. Even in the end, it manages to trick Hugh into taking his own life by making it appear like he has no other option. It truly highlights just how sinister it is and is a very smart move that tricks us into thinking we got a happy ending.
The Bent Neck Lady
To me, this is hammered home by the fact that The House has a clear control over time. We discover that The Bent Neck Lady that haunts Nell is actually a version of her from the future that committed suicide. In a last-ditch attempt, at the moment of her death, Nell travels back in time to warn herself but ultimately this ends up making her return to the house to commit the act. Nell obviously did not possess the power herself so this was the house playing its hand to cause her to return there so it could feed once more. It’s a brilliant reveal and definitely stands as one of the strongest moments in the show.
Hopefully, all of that clears up some of the questions you might have had about the show. I leave you now with the final song that plays at the end of the series by artist Gregory Alan Isakov, the song is titled “If I Go I’m Going.”