‘The Haunting of Hill House’ Boss on Drawing Inspiration from ‘Lost,’ Creating ‘House Ghosts’ and the Red Room

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Haunting of Hill House,” streaming now on Netflix.

When telling a genre story, writer/director Mike Flanagan has one rule: play with perspective.

The man behind “Hush,” “Absentia,” “Gerald’s Game” and the upcoming “Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep” has become accustomed to having to “constantly escalate tension” while simultaneously offering reveals to the characters and the audience. But for his 10-episode adaptation of “The Haunting of Hill House,” he took playing with perspective even farther.

“I can shamelessly say it was something I learned watching the first season of ‘Lost,’” Flanagan tells Variety. “I loved the way that it put me in one specific character’s shoes for an episode and then handed off. It created this anticipation for me because I said, ‘I can’t wait until I get to explore this character.”

“The Haunting of Hill House” dives into each Crain sibling’s perspective — from eldest Steven (played in the past timeline by Paxton Singleton and in the present by Michiel Huisman) to the youngest, ill-fated twins Luke (Julian Hilliard in the past, Oliver Jackson-Cohen in the present) and Nell (Violet McGraw in the past, Victoria Pedretti in the present) — from the time they lived in the titular “Hill House” to decades after, when they were still dealing with the trauma of having to flee in the middle of the night after something terrible happened to their mother. Each sibling had his or her own experiences with supernatural elements in the house, though each was willing to admit it to a different degree.


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