The Haunting Of Hill House co-star Oliver Jackson-Cohen has revealed the finale hides a dark Easter egg in plain sight. Director Mike Flanagan has emerged in the last few years as one of the brightest voices working in the horror genre. His work tends to feature both rich characters and writing – whilst also being insanely creepy and tense. His adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘unfilmable’ novel Gerald’s Game was considered one of the best genre efforts of 2017, his low-budget thriller Hush saw him milk the maximum amount of suspense out of a simple premise and his 2016 prequel Ouija: Origin Of Evil is considered vastly superior to the original.
Flanagan’s most recent project was the 10-part Netflix series The Haunting Of Hill House, which has received near unanimous praise. The show follows the Crain family and is split between two timelines; one featuring the family living in the titular haunted house and the other 26 years later as the grown-up siblings confront their past. It’s a show that manages to be both terrifying and emotional, and each member of the family is thoroughly fleshed out.
The finale of The Haunting Of Hill House reveals the mysterious Red Room is actually the ‘stomach’ of the house, and each Crain sibling had unknowingly spent time inside. Each one saw it differently – a treehouse, a reading room etc – but it was always the same room feeding off their emotions. The finale ends on a happy note for most of the Crains, but in a new interview with The Wrap, Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain) reveals a detail hinting at a darker truth.
There’s this thing that happens when we’re all in the Red Room. Every, uh — again, I feel like I have to be careful if I’m saying this right. (laughs) But whenever each child, each sibling, is in the Red Room, something in the fantasy is red. And it’ll be a very, very small thing. For Luke, when Luke gets taken to the hotel room, he’s worn Converse throughout the show, and all of a sudden his Converse are red. And it’s so slight you can barely even see it. And I think Steven is wearing a red jumper [in his fantasy.]
And so there’s something at the end — it was Kate [Siegel], who plays Theo, who kind of pointed it out to me — with Luke’s sobriety cake. She went, ‘The cake is red.’ And on set I went, ‘Oh, my God!’ And she went, ‘I don’t know!’ And I asked Mike [Flanagan], and he went ‘I don’t know.’ And so I can’t tell whether or not I’m just crazy with this — or whether or not it’s something that could have legs.
The Haunting Of Hill House is filled with such Easter eggs, from ghosts hidden in the background or subtle clues about where the story is heading. Flanagan recently revealed the show almost ended on a more ambiguous note, with the surviving Crain family members gathered in front of a window that resembles the one seen in the Red Room. Flanagan felt this twist was too cruel, so perhaps Luke’s red cake was a subtler way to suggest the ending may not be as happy as it first appears.
While a second season of The Haunting Of Hill House hasn’t been officially confirmed there’s a good chance it will happen. Regardless, Mike Flanagan feels the Crain story is told, and the family is unlikely to return for more adventures in the haunted house.