Haunting of Hill House
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Review by Alijuandra Street
The Haunting of Hill House is beyond what was expected through a simple trailer. The very first episode seemed to open every detail that was needed to get so wrapped up in the show that you did not need to wait till the third or fourth episode to be caught up in such an interesting ghost story. The first episode had you craving the next episode as soon as the first begun.
The series unraveled characters with realistic issues that happen in everyday life that being family issues, substance abuse, and daily battles with life. Then with those issues at hand, there are GHOSTS, of course in the name, The Haunting of Hill House, what else would you expect? The way the show is so well balanced of jump scares that are not cheap or misplaced always kept one on edge, but in the most wonderful way, if you’re into that. So let’s get into it.
The character consists of a family of seven, mother, father, three daughters, and two sons. The series starts with the family running out of the house with their father, at this point they’re all children. Why are you guys running? What’s going on? “DON’T LOOK BACK” but why not? Already your heart is pumping like alright got it, dad, we have to go. Then you start to think about why are we leaving mom in the house? The kids are frantic like that’s their mother we can not leave her! What are you thinking? The dad is determined to get the children to safety and at this point, you are compelled to get to safety as well, not even knowing what is happening yet!
Throughout each episode we get a sense of each individual’s traumas and a look into their life as they lived very different, yet, same life in this haunted house. Starting with the baby of the family, Eleanor Vance, also known as “Nellie/ Nell”. Nell is described as the protagonist of the series. Nell is also battling with sleep paralysis as she struggles to move while in her sleep she always greeted by the “Bent neck lady” as Nell has described this figure that haunts her often. During her battle of sleep paralysis, she sought out help from a sleep technician where she found the love of her life, Arthur Vance, who is a black man! Get over yourself, yes, a black man! She also finds herself helping her twin brother who is battling addiction. Luke is the next youngest, battling his addiction to heroin to prevent visions of this extremely tall man who just appears whenever. Luke is portrayed as the black sheep of the family since he is either dropping out of treatments for his addiction or begging for money to buy drugs. Now, Theodora Crain is a child therapist who uses her empathetic abilities to get to the bottom of what is happening with the children. She wears these gloves all the time! She gets picked on often about these in the series but it’s because she senses beings or attains past information through the touch of her hands. She is also a wonderful lesbian who has an extremely hard time expressing her feeling to someone who loves her so much but does not accept easily at all. Shirley is the second oldest of the family, as she feels that her dad has not done enough to be a presentable figure for the family, she and her husband turn to be the authoritative figure of the series. She owns that big mean sister role but also faces a bunch of trauma that makes her feel this way. Steven Crain is the oldest brother who is a writer, he then wrote a book about what he believed that happened in the house even though he does not know much because he was not really at the age to understand. He is conflicted with himself because he seems to not have as much touch with the supernatural as his other siblings. Hugh and Olivia Crain are the parents of these wonderful yet extremely hurt children and make the best of this in the scenarios they are presented within the series. Hugh will do anything and everything to help his children be safe, now, if that includes holding valuable information that could save their life, so be it.
The series does a fantastic job at flashbacks and connecting the past with the future and having the audience understand and start connecting the dots to what the situation at hand is on their own without making it too obvious which I enjoy. I also loved the realistic factors of the series and the parts that intrigue one into wanting to know what’s happening with little treats of hints that captivate you into continuing watching this masterpiece.
Review by: Kyleaf Holland
Static Shock, is an action filled superhero TV show that dives into the daily balance of teenagehood and heroic duties of a fifteen year old by the name, Virgil Hawkins. Virgil is a very studious person academically and awakens his robust, electrical abilities through exposure to experimental mutagen gas while running away from a gang war between his bullies and the cool kids at school he had just met. Virgil is an African-American teen who grew up without a mother and lived with his sister along with his father. His mother died trying to rescue a man in a shootout during a Dakota riot on her job as part of the ambulance while he was only a toddler. I would be lying to say that this cartoon is mediocre when in fact, not only is the show teemed with huge character developments, but Static Shock (Virgil’s alter ego/name of the show) portrays a mirroring identity of hardships in the world culturally, racially, and even with issues such as gun violence.
Another honorable mention is that many escalated dangers of these topics became scenarios within the show through a bully, or racist parent in which Virgil encounters personally. These very elements of Static Shock give me comfort in knowing that there are industries that are aware of such realities that many teens, including myself go through and face, especially in urban areas. Another pivotal aspect for me is that Kid’s WB acknowledged African-American kids and people through Static Shock or Virgil without trying to overly exert effort into his character (because of his race) and in return, Virgil’s character was heavily relatable, impactful, authentic and tasteful. I did research and I found out Virgil’s full name, “Virgil Hawkins” was inspired by a man named “Virgil D. Hawkins” who was applying for a university of Law in Florida but was denied admission because of his race. Knowing such a background about the creation of the show Static Shock felt good because oftentimes the role of African-Americans in films are often antagonists, background characters, or falls second to the main character.
Furthermore, I think Static Shock proves that a person who is studious or a bookworm can still be a normal person in society and accepted. Virgil has powers and becomes strong not only physically, but he becomes more intelligent when analyzing people/different environments. These dynamics debunk the beliefs that the school nerds/studious classmate is small, weak and unconfident. Keep in mind during his teenage years, Virgil helped de-escalate a situation with gun violence at his school, putting his life at risk with the very thing that killed his mother. The “nerd” can come in many shapes, forms, and appearances with various character traits.
In conclusion, Static Shock is the embodiment of reality that is present in society and trickles down generation after generation through the lenses of a teenager/high schoolers. While this may be the case the film is fairly balanced with positive outlooks and resolves to scenarios like the racism Virgil encounters in the show, or the scenarios of gun violence along with the consequences the situations bring. The show does not get too graphic with violence, but the scenarios given are very much real-life conflicts transitioned into positive messages that I, as a child, took away from various episodes. This show also promoted many to be family oriented and to never take family for granted. You will not be disappointed by this astonishing show! There are comic books, movies, and the TV show itself on the website dcuniverse.com to examine more on Virgil’s background.
A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice: Discovering the Answer to Forgiving One’s Self
TW: bullying, depression, anxiety, suicide
If you are reading this, I can keep your attention for the next few minutes. If you are someone who refers to themselves as “stubborn as a mule”, allow yourself to at least be intrigued by my recommendation for your next movie night. A Silent Voice is a film adapted from the collection of its original seven mangas. Conveniently spread across two hours, this movie is one I will forever be crying out for family, friends, and society to watch at least once in their life times. However, before telling you anymore about this film, please take discretion with the trigger warnings above. Yes, I recommend this movie often, but I always make sure to give warning when potential trigger topics are included. If you are still here with me, let us get started.
The movie opens with our protagonist Shoya Ishida observing his calendar before preparing to meet with his manager about leaving his job. Soon after, he sells his entire manga collection for thirty-thousand yen and milks all the money in his bank account before leaving it securely packaged by his mother’s pillow with the note, “Here’s the money I owe you”. By now, you can assume what his plan of action is when he stands up on the railing of a local bridge, staring down at the expecting, still waters below. Not even five minutes into this eerie monologue and I am pitying this troubled teen while trying to piece together what has made him come to the present decision of letting go of it all. What has his life been up until now? Would it be worth leaving it all behind? It is then we are brought back to our protagonist’s time in grade school. Spunky and full of childish joy, it is soon revealed that this same young man preparing to leave what he has ever known behind was a bully in one of the most influential eras of his life.
Shouko Nishimiya was the new student at Ishida’s grade school with a disability that made it unknown to her that her classmates would be mocking her in the very same room she exchanged smiles with them; she could not hear. Yes, she was and presently is still deaf. Nishimiya did not let this stop her though; she would attempt to make friends with her classmates with an enthusiastic yet twisted tongue, but they laughed and chastised her inability to form coherent words. Ishida would be one of these classmates who affected Nishimiya for the rest of her life.
We do not stay with the young age of these two for very long. Back to the present year, there is still much to follow before meeting with Ishida back on the bridge. Our protagonist has realized the fault in his bitter heart as a child, how could anyone--especially himself--ever forgive the malicious actions towards Nishimiya? This is a question you may find asking yourself because you and Ishida go on the coming-of-age journey to discover what can make this right.
I will never forget trying to process my emotions when watching this film for the first time. If I could go back and relish every eye-opening minute of this incredible story all over again, I would without even thinking twice. Several moments in this film moved me deeply, but the ending is what gripped my heart and touched me like no other film has ever had before. A Silent Voice will forever be a film I will recommend to anyone as it tastefully approaches the discovery of how one can forgive oneself. Is it possible? For Shoya Ishida, is he able to reach out to Nishimiya before it is too late? Please, do yourself the favor and go into this movie as blind as possible. I wish I could express my endless adoration for this film, but it would take away from the unexplainable experience of following these characters and the essential lessons packed in
the span of two hours.
Experience the unforgettable moments of this film so you can wish you could rediscover the beauty of it all over again as I have.
A Silent Voice is available for streaming on Netflix in English, Spanish, and japanese dub. Subtitles are offered as well.
“Be careful with your words. They can only be forgiven, not forgotten.”
The Walking Dead: Praise for One Hell of a Title Reveal
Based on the comic book series written by
Scott Gimple, Frank Darabont,
and Robert Kirkman
Review and Analysis
by Morgan Ingram
In season 5, Episode 10 of The Walking Dead, the opening scene is bleak to say the least. Our heroes are starving, and hope is dying in their eyes. Malnourished, weak, and mourning the loss of a major character, they hobble along the landscape, not looking so different from the roaming corpses that crave their flesh.
After binge-ing the entire series up until this point, this episode struck a nerve deep within my mind. The directors and screenwriters have perfectly engineered this transitional episode to involve the audience within the logic of the plot. I felt their primal hunger, like your stomach is gnawing at your spine and your friends start to look like competition. . . or worse, your next meal. I considered the dry, stifling heat that sucks the life from the cells. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect the audience is forced to consider is the question that everyone has asked themselves at least once: what is the purpose of living? The writers of this comic book adaptation have never shied from the taboo, political, or controversial that exist in society, and continue to exist after civilization has been mostly destroyed. However, this philosophical approach to confronting the character’s grief, trauma, and depression makes an absolute treasure trove of an episode to those who appreciate the study of psychology and philosophy.
The barn scene in this episode has haunted me and provoked my curiosity for years after I first watched it. The characters are sitting together by a fire in an old barn to escape a raging storm, reflecting on the youth’s resilience to hardship in the post-apocalyptic world. Michonne says, “This is not the world”. In the scene, it is night. The only light is from the fire that burns in front of them and casts shadows on the walls of the cave—er, I mean, barn. I believe that this scene is a reference and application of Plato’s Allegory of the cave. In the allegory, three people have been confined to sit and stare at the wall of a cave for the entirety of their lives. Behind them is a fire that never is extinguished. Figures of humans and animals walk in front of the fire, casting shadows on the cave walls that the three people perceive. To these people that have only ever seen the shadows, the world seems to consist only of shadows and the absence of shadows. We know that the world consists of many things, and shadows are simply the consequence of people, animals, and structures existing in light. We also know that these three people are experiencing a great ethical injustice by being confined to the cave when a whole world of colors, figures, experiences, and sensations are a few steps away.
When the heroic and optimistic Michonne says, “This is not the world. It’s not it”, what she means is that there is more to live for beyond just surviving. “It might be”, replies Glenn as he looks to his grief-stricken wife. The group, centrally Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Carol, Daryl, and Maggie are forced to consider that death may feel like a more endurable option than living on to only to frequently experience malnourishment, violence, paranoia, and grieving the loss of loved-ones. Rick, the fearless and wise leader, leads the group through a war story about his grandfather. It’s a story of triumph, but also the disturbing horrors of soldier psychology. The story is a gift to the viewer, as it adds very human dimensions to Rick at a time when his humanity is questionable. Rick concludes that the group must survive everyday by believing that they are already dead, accepting only the primal instincts and considering the conscience to be non-existent. Rick believes that if they all let go of their humanity to survive the elements, meaningful life will come to them later when survival is more easily achieved. “We do what we need to do. Then, we get to live” he says, looking at each of his friends, “… This is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.” The title reveal has a startling effect after so many years of The Walking Dead being on air. The title referring to the heroes as the ‘walking dead’ is a jarring revelation that haunts the entirety of my viewing experience of the series. In his quiet, contemplative way, Daryl shakes his head defiantly and says, “We ain’t them.”
I won’t spoil anymore of this cinematic masterpiece of an episode by analyzing one of the most memorable scenes in television history, but I will encourage you to watch it yourself. If you are a loyal follower of The Walking Dead’s ‘Atlanta Five’, this one’s for you. The visual portrayal of the climax of the episode is a picturesque cinematic triumph that will make your heart swell. I, once again, highly recommend that you give this episode a watch.
“Them” is an episode that gives the audience everything, even more than everything, that we needed in its chronology. However, its chronology does not matter in the slightest to its themes and scenario. The episode’s themes are timeless not only in the world of The Walking Dead, but also in our own lives where the dead ~usually~ stay dead. Hopelessness is a disease of perspective. Hunger, loss, exhaustion, routine, trauma, and guilt twist the world into a dark reality. They cast shadows that make the world seem to only consist of darkness and ambiguity. One only needs to turn the other direction, stare at the flame for what it truly is, and continue towards the inevitable light on the other side. By the time the pain subsides, you’ll already be basking in the light of morning.
“Every day he got up and told himself ‘Rest in peace. Now get up, and go to war,’ and then after a few years of pretending he was dead, he made it out alive.” -Rick Grimes