Yep, “The Haunting of Hill House” is still number one. It’s the encapsulation of everything Flanagan does so well; a heartbreaking, scary, emotional saga about family, and pain, and loneliness. It’s a singular work that aches with a raw, honest, beating heart, and it takes my breath away. Sure, you can take issue with the fact that Flanagan screws around with Shirley Jackson’s unbeatable subject matter — he draws out a surprisingly happy ending, something that’s nowhere to be found in Jackson’s chilling masterpiece.
But if you can overlook that, and I know I can, you’ll find the tragic story of the Crane family as they deal with life, and loss, and, yes, ghosts. Everyone here is haunted, be it by literal specters or by the shadows of their wrenching past. At the center of it is Victoria Pedretti again, who is something of a revelation here playing the tragic, doomed Nell, whose death kicks the entire story into gear. What happens to Nell is almost too traumatic to comprehend, and the traumatic nature of her story is the framework on which Flanagan hangs the narrative. I like the other Mike Flanagan shows (especially “Midnight Mass”), but none of them have come close to breaking my heart and blowing my mind the way “The Haunting of Hill House” did. Flanagan hasn’t been able to top this, but that’s no surprise — it’s hard to recreate perfection.