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.