By Gwynne Watkins, additional reporting by Tom Butler
In contrast to over-the-top, shudder-packed shows like American Horror Story, Netflix’s new series The Haunting of Hill House is a slow burn. But when the scares finally come, look out.
The series, about five siblings raised in a haunted house, is getting rave reviews from critics — and it’s making a whole lot of viewers afraid of their own living rooms. On Twitter, fans are flipping out over Mike Flanagan’s show, saying that they can’t sleep, are afraid to turn out the lights — and yet, they can’t stop watching. Even horror maestro Stephen King has doffed his hat calling it “close to a work of genius”.
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, revised and remodeled by Mike Flanagan. I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 17, 2018
The psychological horror series, based on a classic Shirley Jackson novel, has taken many viewers by surprise with its intensity.
The Haunting of Hill House on @NetflixUK is one of the most terrifying, nail biting, hide behind the couch, don’t even breath, I’m going to pass out from fear things I have ever watched. In. My. Life.
— Baby Jane (@babyjanequeen) October 13, 2018
Whole families are freaking out together.
SPOILER ALERT: actual text my mom sent me while watching #HauntingofHillHouse episode 4. This was in a series of nine other texts. Yes. It really is that scary. @netflix @haunting pic.twitter.com/jMN6RjuuwV
— Jacquelyn Pica (@JacquelynTPH) October 17, 2018
It even scares dogs!
— Zombie Chewbecca (@rebeccaohanlon) October 13, 2018
The general consensus: No. 1, watch after dark at your own risk.
— Spooky Steph (@WriteOnSteph) October 14, 2018
— Cheryl Fury ☠ (@TudorWench) October 14, 2018
No. 2, don’t expect to sleep afterward.
mer made me start watching #HauntingofHillHouse and I AINNTTT sleeping tonight
— Chibi 🕷 (@_chibidoll_) October 18, 2018
— Trigga Ty (@snarkyboots) October 18, 2018
And No. 3, don’t be surprised if everything in your house suddenly looks like a ghost.
My husband and I just watched the first two episodes of #HauntingofHillHouse. He just went around our bedroom and put away everything that would look like a ghost in the dark. pic.twitter.com/QSktu6pONh
— Candice Coppola (@candice_coppola) October 17, 2018
— TenMoreMinutes (@TenMoreMinutes_) October 13, 2018
For viewers who aren’t too scared to revisit the show, Twitter is also full of Netflix sleuths posting pictures of the show’s “hidden” ghosts.
There is a ghost in nearly every damn scene of #HauntingOfHillHouse. This is one of MANY I’ve found. It’s brilliant and terrifying at the same time. Repeat viewings are a MUST. Best horror series in a long time, if not ever. @flanaganfilm is a genius with the scares. 🎃👻 pic.twitter.com/IMeXd1tNfn
— Luke LaBeau (@LukeOfHorror) October 14, 2018
— My_velouria (@adrocknlil) October 14, 2018
And like all things that capture the internet’s imagination, the stealth scares of The Haunting of Hill House are already a meme.
— Colin Cunningham (@Sgtzima) October 16, 2018
The Haunting of Hill House is streaming on Netflix now. Watch our interview with the cast below.