The Haunting of Hill House has impressed critics and Netflix viewers alike but there’s one episode that stands out more than any other.
That’s episode 6, “Two Storms,” which sees the worlds of the present Crain family at the funeral home and the past Crain family at Hill House seemingly collide in what appears to be one continuous shot.
“It was like doing a play,” Elisabeth Reaser, who plays Shirley Crain, told Yahoo Movies UK. “I sort of approached it as if I was going out on opening night and I only had a very short time for rehearsal.
“We had pages and pages of dialogue that we had to do all in one take, like 20-minute long takes, so I started memorising two months before because I didn’t want to screw it up.”
“It was so terrifying being a part of that and also just the rehearsal process and how everything was just calculated within an inch of its life,” Oliver Jackson-Cohen who plays Luke Crain, continued.
“What you don’t see is that when the cameras are moving through into the foyer bit, all of the chairs in the funeral home are actually being moved and the coffins are being switched out – it was kind of electric.”
Hill House writer and director Mike Flanagan said he had to include a lot of stage directions in the script when writing the episode.
“I realised that a lot of the camera choreography needed to be incorporated into the draft itself because we were doing 18-page scenes without any cuts,” Flanagan said explaining that a lot of the production design revolved around this one episode too.
“The set had to be constructed with this episode in mind as we knew that we had certain shots that required us to walk through the house in its entirety,” he added “Every shot was the product of a 100 people standing on each other’s shoulders and having to execute dozen or hundreds of tasks.”
Michiel Huisman, who plays Stephen Crain, said it was “the most exciting episode to shoot by far.”
“It feels like one long shot but in reality it’s four long shots until the very end when we go into more forward coverage,” the actor told Yahoo Movies UK. “We had to rehearse for weeks to get everything right, also to technically be in tune with the camera operator and the lighting adjustments that constantly change.
“Otherwise, if you just leave the light on, all of a sudden the episode would look very different from the previous episodes because it’s very styled and the shots are very precise,” Huisman added. “So even though we do long shots where the camera switches in every direction, lighting changes constantly to make the shot look a little better on all levels.
“Technically and performance-wise it was really exciting to do.”
The Haunting of Hill House S1 is streaming on Netflix now