It isn’t easy to explain the ending of The Haunting of Hill House, because Hill House itself—the daunting, ghost-filled mansion at the center of Mike Flanagan‘s Netflix series—doesn’t end. That’s one of the points of the show, the eternal nature of this multi-room monster sitting alone in middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts. Like Shirley Jackson wrote in the spine-chilling intro to the original novel, “it had stood for 80 years and might stand for 80 more.”
But overall, Flanagan’s dark, sprawling story is less concerned with the ghosts inside the house and more with the people who made it out (mostly) alive. Namely, the Crain siblings, a much more fucked up version of Arrested Development‘s Bluths with horrific trauma replacing witty banter: horror author Steven (Michiel Huisman), mortician Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), semi-psychic psychologist Theodora (Kate Siegel), addict Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), and his twin sister Nell (Victoria Pedretti), who takes her own life inside the walls of Hill House.
Below, I’m going to try my darndest to make sense of all the horror, death, and mystery that befalls the Crain family, including what the hell is actually going on with Hill House itself, what happened to Olivia Crain (Carla Gugino) and why exactly Hugh Crain (Timothy Hutton) covered it up, what’s inside the house’s mysterious Red Room, and what were the true identities of The Bent Neck Lady and Luke’s imaginary friend, Abigail.
To jump around to different explanations from Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, click through the links below:
- Hill House
- The Possession of Olivia Crain
- Abigail and The Dudleys
- The Red Room
- The Bent Neck Lady
- The Ending