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The Haunting of Hill House

Z Buck McFate

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It was worse knowing how everything with Nell was going to pan out, all the emotional agonies she would experience in what remained of her life, and how the huge awful macabre picture all assembled together across the tapestry of her life. Just absolutely dreadful, and my skin crawled with the alternating scenes of her dancing through the house.

I can't think of a better actress for that part, too. She was amazing. (Granted, most of that is personal quirks and features she probably has inherently, but still - she was perfect). :laugh: @ "achievement unlocked."

****

I haven't watched the trailer yet (too much of a spoiler), but:

Screenshot_2021-09-02-17-19-50~2.png
 

Totenkindly

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I can't think of a better actress for that part, too. She was amazing. (Granted, most of that is personal quirks and features she probably has inherently, but still - she was perfect). :laugh: @ "achievement unlocked."
Yeah considering it was Victoria Pedretti's first "full-length" role of any kind... She actually bested some more experienced cast members, IMO, in that performance. I kind of resent to seeing her referred to as a "scream queen" because her work was excellent just in a standard "drama" format. Maybe my understanding is off, but scream queen typically just designates someone who gets pigeon-holed in horror flicks and tends to not be as successful outside the genre doing substantial dramatic / versatile work, which I think Pedretti is capable of.

I read now that she has been cast as author Alice Sebold in a film based on her rape experience, "Lucky" -- basically because she felt lucky to be alive considering the circumstances. (For those who don't know who she is, Sebold is better known for her fictional book, "The Lovely Bones," whose film adaptation was okay but not nearly as good as people anticipated.)

That would be an unnerving film. I read both and find it really fascinating how both of them involves a similar violation but they are told almost in opposite styles... one is metaphorical and abstracted, the other more minimalist and direct, if I recall correctly.
 

Z Buck McFate

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She has a lot of range and depth. The scene with Miles and the spider is coming to mind, where he tried to scare her but she took the spider from his hand and - while letting it walk across her own hand - said something like, "It's a lot harder to scare me than most people think." Granted, it's acting (and a lot easier to be bold when there's a script and you know how things will end), but there are believable traces of a fierce courage that do a sort of dance with the palpable 'scared mouse' fear in her expression - she does it so well that I never feel an interruption in the suspension of disbelief. It's rare.
 

Totenkindly

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We finished our watch/rewatch of Season 1 last night. It was nice to be in a place where I could no longer remember many of the details of the finale very well, so I could be resurprised in some ways. My son had the same kind of thoughts I did (shocker, I know), and we had a big discussion afterwards including the last 15 minutes -- especially because he's been reading the book over the last few days and is about half done with it and recognized some of the lines in the show as being from the book.

Our view of Season 1 is that e1 is probably the weakest, through little fault of its own -- it is the opener and has to establish a lot of the characters, mood, setting, etc., when we know next to nothing about the story. Things start to gel slightly by the end of it (with the shocker of the last minute). Then we get into the character episodes (2-5). Since Steve is KIND of the center of e1, we don't seem to learn as much about him per se as the deep dives on all his siblings in e2-e5. The strongest episodes of the season are e4-e6 (e4 = Luke, e5 = Bent Neck Lady, e6 = The Viewing). The last few episodes are decent, just not the high mark per se -- although I ended up quietly crying a lot through the finale as all the characters have experiences where Nell is influential in releasing them as they deal with psychological frailties unique to their personalities and experiences.

We both agreed that there is a huge tonal shift that we didn't really like in the last 10 minutes or so. It feels a bit like a copout.

 

Z Buck McFate

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We finished our watch/rewatch of Season 1 last night. It was nice to be in a place where I could no longer remember many of the details of the finale very well, so I could be resurprised in some ways. My son had the same kind of thoughts I did (shocker, I know), and we had a big discussion afterwards including the last 15 minutes -- especially because he's been reading the book over the last few days and is about half done with it and recognized some of the lines in the show as being from the book.

Our view of Season 1 is that e1 is probably the weakest, through little fault of its own -- it is the opener and has to establish a lot of the characters, mood, setting, etc., when we know next to nothing about the story. Things start to gel slightly by the end of it (with the shocker of the last minute). Then we get into the character episodes (2-5). Since Steve is KIND of the center of e1, we don't seem to learn as much about him per se as the deep dives on all his siblings in e2-e5. The strongest episodes of the season are e4-e6 (e4 = Luke, e5 = Bent Neck Lady, e6 = The Viewing). The last few episodes are decent, just not the high mark per se -- although I ended up quietly crying a lot through the finale as all the characters have experiences where Nell is influential in releasing them as they deal with psychological frailties unique to their personalities and experiences.

We both agreed that there is a huge tonal shift that we didn't really like in the last 10 minutes or so. It feels a bit like a copout.

The gloves thing bothered me too. Even if her difficulty were primarily the boundaries/attachment issues (or however one might label the issues that most people are vulnerable too) - if it wasn't compounded by this extra sensory ability - baggage doesn't go away with a decision to not be a victim of it anymore. The path to healing is a Sisyphus-like, circuitous commitment to address the rock (instead of relying on all the coping and defense mechanisms we initially turned to in order to avoid that struggle) and finally - to the best of our ability - push on it, knowing we're going to end up doing it again and again, and that the lasting progress will be painfully slow. And whatever progress we DO make will retrograde if we take a long enough break. Getting 'better' isn't a single choice, it's the result of thousands (maybe millions) of smaller, steadfast choices. All of that is difficult enough; in her case it IS compounded by this extra-sensory sensitivity - making the 'single choice' resolution that much more wildly unrealistic.

While it's possible Flanagan was shooting for extra-sensory sensivity being the reason for the other issues - and 'taking off the gloves' was intended to indicate that she was going to start tackling this extra obstacle, instead of simply avoiding it - then her character should have been simpler (which admittedly would suck and make the overall story more dull, but that's what it would take to forgive 'gloves off ending'; wildly simplistic resolutions are only satisfying for wildly simplistic problems).


Or if it is possible to exist in some pocket of that big stomach without being digested (tormented), that needs an explanation, to become credible. And such an explanation would almost require an entire season in itself, to be satisfying enough. The strength of the whole story would depend on how strong that explanation is; it would have to resonate on some spooky, profound level.

eta: Oh spoiler function, why do you forsake me? Wait nevermind, it's working now.
 
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Z Buck McFate

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I'm one and a half episodes into Midnight Mass. I really like the character development so far.

About the priest:


I'm stopping for the night just as Bowl is walking past the vacant house. The beginning of this scene is done well (so creepy) - and if I watch it, ill end up binging the whole series tonight.

I noticed that the woman listed on the cast to play Dr. Gunning's mother is a much younger woman, so I'm guessing they'll be significant chunks of previous island time coming (of when she and the priest were younger).
 

Totenkindly

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We'll probably watch more this week. We ended up watching the final four episodes of Season 1 of Mr. Robot today, to get to a decent closure point, and now we can jump back over to Midnight Mass.
 

Z Buck McFate

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I actually couldn't bring myself to watch that scary scene alone, so I waited until I had someone to watch it with. I'm rewatching from the beginning, and noticed a few things:

 

Totenkindly

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Had posted my Midnight Mass thoughts here:

We haven't (re)watched Bly Manor yet but after a friend texted me last night as he works through it, I ended up rewatch the final episode of Bly because I just was in that kind of mood. It just really gets under my skin in a deeply emotional way.

As far as that ending goes, I saw some reviewers complaining about the recasting bit (between the main narrative and the frame story) -- but I'm still not sure what the issue is. It does lose a bit in terms of emotional connection to actor appearances unfortunately, but I didn't see it purely as a gimmick. Most of the complaints that tried to accept the appearance changes complained about the accent changes -- but wasn't it simply a total anonymization/scrub of the original storyline, to preserve anonymity? Who says the accents and otherwise that we heard in the show body were even accurate, if even the name of Bly Manor had been changed to preserve its identity? Like, ANYTHING might have been changed in the retelling, aside from the core story. It doesn't really hold up as a complaint to me.

And then complaints about the final shot including the hand.... I don't think Flanigan clarifies anything about the reality of that hand, but some reviewers criticized it to the degree of it downgrading the show for them because of what they inferred it meant. I think at best it can be stated that the narrator feels the presence of a loved one, without clarifying whether it is perceived or actual. I don't think the show really takes a stance on how far that hand goes, we can only note that there are no other shots that would support a more tangible reading of it since in consciousness the narrator is always searching but never finding tangible signs.

I think it just gets me because at least the narrator feels like they had something/someone they had lost. I don't even feel like I have had that much in life -- I've never found the love that would help define me through its loss, looking back now. I had one that I tried to make work for many years but feel now it was a mismatch and went as far as it could, but the bond was never that pervasive or deep as what appears here... it was always on their terms. I am struck more by the thought of searching and longing for an elusive hand that has never been present regardless and thus there is no comfort expected even in that.
 
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