If you haven't read the book, you should read it. It isn't very long, and is a quick read. It has none of the characters of the television series, however both movies do try to remain true to the book. The story revolves around Eleonore and her experiences in the house. She is there as part of an experiment to discover if or what might be going on in the house. The study is done by a cocky man, Dr. Montague, who is a supernatural investigator. In the end, the house may be haunted and it takes it's toll on the psyche of Eleonore.
Some of the names of the characters are the same, there is an Eleonore (sometimes called Nell), and there is a Theodora, and a Luke, but none of them are related. The story of Hugh Crane is a lot darker, in one version he was keeping his family in the house, as prisoners, in the 1999 movie the children he killed and entrapped in the house were calling Nell home to protect and save them. In the Netflix series Hugh Crane is a man who loves his wife and his five children. He doesn't know that the house has ghosts and it is built much like the Hotel in AHS: Hotel. Once you die in the house, you become part of the house.
The children, Steve, Nell, Luke, Susie, and Theodora, are all experiencing nightmares brought on by the psychosis of one of them. And after one of the siblings dies, the rest are called back to the house, to either save each other and find out what happened that night they were forced from the house by their father, or they are there to die and become part of the house themselves. None of them have talked about what they have seen, and none of them want to believe that what they saw when they were there, for one summer, in that house, but now, along with their father, they need to figure out what the truth is, and what is just a facade built by the house itself.
I know that several people out there found this frightening or scary, but for me this was, overall, sad. It isn't about an evil house, but more about mental illness and the destruction of a cohesive family. Some of those who have died in the house are only there because they had an untreated mental illness, and the house took advantage of that. There were scenes that were suspenseful, but the show was not scary. It had spooky moments, but mostly, it was sad to see how broken a family was because they didn't talk about one night that forced them to leave the house, and become a broken family. They children are kept in a single home, but not with either of their parents. The audience isn't really told why the father never took the children back in, although the audience does learn why the mother doesn't, and maybe this has some reason as to why the father didn't go back for them. What this did was led to the children staying quiet, broken, and finding different ways to cope with losing their parents. They each have a problem, and each has something they don't want to face.
I did enjoy this, but wonder where it will go for season 2. This may be titled the same as the Shirley Jackson novel, but it really didn't have anything to do with the book, besides some of the characters having the same names as the characters in the books, and the caretakers of the property being the same. Of course, one thing every single version has, which did make me laugh and almost choke on a cookie, was the the words, "In the dark, in the night." This is said by one or more characters, and when I saw it in the 1999 movie, I couldn't help but laugh, and when it was in this version I, like stated earlier, almost choked on a cookie.
I do hope it finds a way to relate more to the book. I enjoyed the book, and I thought, even though neither movie was fantastic, they at least both related to the book as well. For me, this version only made me appreciate my siblings more, and made me think about how much life we take for granted, even when we don't realize we are taking it for granted. Each day is a gift. Each day, we can make a change, and look at what things really mean or what they really are.
So, if you have the time, check out The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and you decide if it is scary or not.