Netflix’s latest horror series, The Haunting Of Hill House, is perhaps one of the streaming platform’s greatest successes. With almost a perfect rating on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, both critics and audiences agree that the show is pure genius. And while there are so many brilliant aspects to the series, from its blink-and-you-miss-it ghosts to its shocking twists, one of the most impressive parts was the entirety of Episode 6. Why? Because the episode was shot with a series of long, one-shot takes, the longest measuring in at 17 minutes.
I’ll repeat that.
17 minutes of footage that is uncut. In script terms, that translates to about 18 pages without a single cut. The feat is truly incredible, and thanks to a behind the scenes featurette that the streaming platform released, we get to see just how much work is put into an episode like this. We’re not talking about minutes or hours here, we’re talking about days of both rehearsal and set up to make sure everything goes perfectly. Because here’s the thing about one-shots. If you mess up halfway through, there’s no fixing it. It’s back to the beginning. Michiel Huisman, who plays adult Steve, says it best.
“At a certain point, you’re really thinking, like, the one thing I don’t wanna do is mess this up. But you also can’t play it safe, because that would be boring. So you have to sort of go for it.”
We’re talking about more than just remembering your lines, as well. We’re talking about knowing exactly where to step and when. The slightest wrong move could mess up the rest of the blocking, and then everyone is back to square one. Talk about pressure! And director/writer Mike Flanagan had no assumptions that this would be an easy task. But he wanted to bring the audience into the show in a real-time scene, and the only true way to do that is with one-shots. You can actually thank this episode for the layout of Hill House, as the set was constructed specifically to work for the long takes!
Each episode is fantastic in its own way, but Episode 6 really does make you feel like you’re there with the Crain family, enduring the suspenseful horrors of the house with them. It’s completely immersive and despite its behind the scenes complexity, the final product seems almost effortless. A true testament to the talents of the entire team. This was, without a doubt, their masterpiece.
Watch the featurette down below to learn more about the making of Episode 6.
The Haunting Of Hill House Is Streaming Now On Netflix.