The Reel Review

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Imagine if NBC’s generational tear-jerker drama series This Is Us was transported into a spooky, decades-spanning story centered around a sinister house of supernatural and psychological horrors. Such is the brainchild of creator Mike Flanagan, who re-teams with his actress wife Kate Siegel (Hush) and Carla Gugino (Gerald’s Game) in this very loose Netflix original adaptation of the 1959 Shirley Jackson gothic horror novel. Like a carefully crafted jigsaw puzzle, this well-written series features interesting characters, each struggling with his or her own demons (both real and psychological), using flashbacks of past events to cleverly and gradually reveal its many pieces throughout its 10 episodes. Its compelling storyline, centered around the complex family dynamics, is accentuated by a top notch ensemble cast – Siegel, Gugino, Victoria Pedretti and Elizabeth Reaser (Ouija, Twilight) in particular – whose heartfelt performances make you care about their characters – something rare in modern day horror. It is also chocked full of creepy (some even hidden, so pay attention!) scares and particularly clever camera work in later episodes. This is by far the best horror series ever produced by Netflix and perfectly timed to get viewers in the binge-watching Halloween spirit.

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