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Review: The Haunting of Hill House (TV Show)

I love horror. Be it movies, books, TV shows.. I want it all. So when I heard that Netflix was going to do a series called The Haunting of Hill House, I could not wait! The day it came to Netflix I started watching it, and I was hooked. None of us are immune to binge watching, but be prepared to not put this one down.

First, let’s do a little history on the show. It is a re-imagining of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 Gothic novel The Haunting of Hill House. This book is one of the best horror stories of the 20th century and isn’t so much about the horror as the terror. To be exact, it wants to make you dread what comes next more than it wants to scare you and gross you out like most in the genre. It was originally adapted into a British movie called The Haunting in 1963 where a group of paranormal investigators investigate Hill House. Most people probably know the 1999 version of The Haunting, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor. I know that was my first introduction to this story, and I love that one as well.

This latest version of the original story is terrifyingly surprising. Netflix and creator Mike Flanagan did a superb job creating this masterpiece of terror. I do warn you, there might be some spoilers ahead, so read on if you dare!

The Haunting of Hill House is about a family of 7, the Crain’s, that once lived in Hill House. The children are now grown up and each has their own problems in life that all stem from their time spent there. They have all tried very hard to keep the past in the past, but it’s catching up to them and there is nothing they can do about it. I really don’t want to reveal too much, but each of the 5 children is special in their own way and despite their hardships and differences the family sticks together in the end.

The journey the Crain’s take in this 10 episode season is remarkable. There are moments of love, of pain, of sadness and trust me you will feel all the feels right along with them. There are most definitely jump scares, hidden ghosts, and subtle hints as to what’s really going on. Be prepared for many, many flashbacks that eventually make a lot of sense. The red door is a big part of the plot, as is Mrs. Crain, so keep your eyes on them.

The cast does a tremendous job at portraying their characters and telling you the story of the summer that rules their lives. I would absolutely love to see another season of this in the future. I’m not sure if continuing on with the Crain family’s future would be the way to go, but I’d love to see the story behind the original owners of Hill House and how they became what they were. They don’t play a big part in this story, but they are definitely part of the reason the house is what it is.

I didn’t find this series horrifying and I didn’t get any nightmares from it, but it does seem to truly scare some. So beware if you get easily spooked! The story unfolds at a steady pace, so don’t worry about any slow moments making you wish you were watching something else. In fact, it will probably be over before you are expecting and then you’ll miss the Crain family and all the suspense in their lives.

Review: The Ritual on Weylyn Island

Dev. by: zemaGamez
Platform: PC
Release Date: Dec. 4, 2015

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This horror game came out just last month and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The Ritual on Weylyn Island combines the idea of Slender: The Eight Pages with black magic rituals, creating a scary story of epic proportions.

What’s it about?
The Ritual on Weylyn Island follows Moira, a 22-year-old woman who travels to Blessed Island to help her remaining family members settle the death of their patriarch, her grandfather. When she arrives, however, the house is in ruins, with strange symbols on the walls in blood, and her family is nowhere to be found. Your goal is to find your twin sister, Rowena, and get off the island.

What did I think?
This game is absolutely terrifying. I would say it’s even worse than Slender: The Arrival and you all know how that game affected me. The mixture of a dread-inducing score, gut-wrenching graphics and horrifying whispers leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Instead of finding notes, you find tapes for a walkman you pick up in the beginning of the game. This is a nice change from finding notes in other horror games because you don’t have to read anything. You can continue to explore the area or meet your objective while the information you need is being told to you.

The story itself is interesting, too. It’s Moira’s goal to become close with her sister once more, but when Rowena is nowhere to be found, Moira has to brave the unknown to rescue her. Along the way, we get little snippets of what’s happening on the island with some jump scares peppered in.

Do I recommend it?
Oh, yes. If you liked being scared out of your wits, this is the game for you. The graphics are good, the story is interesting and the concept is very well done. You can find The Ritual on Weylyn Island on Steam.

Review: Layers of Fear (Part 1)

Review: Layers of Fear (Part 1)

Developer: Bloober Team SA
Platforms: PC, Xbox
Released: Aug 27, 2015

Layers of Fear is an early access, indie horror game created by Bloober Team SA. I watched a good amount of game play after it was first released and found it to be absolutely stunning. Because of this, I decided to play it for myself (and for all of you).

What’s it about?
Layers of Fear is a psychological horror game that follows a once-successful painter as he attempts to finish his pièce de résistance. You explore his ever-changing house, looking for the six items that will allow you to finish your painting. Along the way, you delve into the demented mind of the main character; you discover notes and newspaper articles that tell the story of this artist and his family; and you experience strange and paranormal phenomena.

What did I think?
I’ve only finished about a third of the game so far, so I can only give you my thoughts on the beginning. As I play more, however, I will be posting more about what I think.

That being said, this game is stunning. It is surprisingly easy to play for not being completed. The graphics are amazing, the story is thorough and creepy and the jump scares are absolutely terrifying.

The amount of exploration in the game can become a bit tedious. There are some notes and newspaper clippings in a few drawers, so you end up having to open every single drawer and cabinet in order to find them. And there are drawers and cabinets all over the place. In this aspect, it’s a lot like Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Unlike Amnesia: The Dark Descent, however, there’s a lot more happening in this game. While the exploration part of it might be a little boring, the game itself is not. It kept me on my toes, which kept me interested. This game genuinely scares me, which is the highest compliment I can give a horror game.

Do I recommend it?
Oh, yes. You can find it on Steam for $12.99. It’s definitely worth the money.

-Vanri the Rogue