Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House is the breakout horror series of the year, and while it has been dubbed "close to a work of genius," when it comes to it possibly being renewed for a second season, there is an argument to be made supporting its cancellation.
Warning: This story contains major spoilers for the first season of The Haunting of Hill House.
The 10-episode debut season, loosely drawing inspiration from Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel of the same name, follows the Crain family, whose past at Hill House still haunts them well into their adult lives, eventually forcing them back to the very place they have avoided for years. By series end, following a handful of jump scares, a number of hidden ghosts, and an intense and tragic family drama, The Haunting of Hill House ended with a neatly concrete finish and an applause from both the audience and critics. But is a standing ovation justification for a second season to a series that otherwise already tied up all of its loose ends?
Although director Mike Flanagan himself has stated a desire for a second season, and even admitted to originally having concocted a season finale that would have easily opened up the possibility for a sophomore run, he also admitted that currently, there is no story left to tell for the Crains.
"As far as I've ever been concerned with this, the story of the Crain family is told. It's done," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I felt like the Crains have been through enough, and we left them exactly as we all wanted to remember them…we really felt like the story demanded a certain kind of closure from us and we were happy to close the book on that family."
Should The Haunting of Hill House be given a second season by Netflix, it would follow in the vain of other book-to-series adaptations granted sophomore, and in some cases, season three runs, meaning that it would entirely move away from its source material. While Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale successfully shifted away from Margaret Atwood's novel, there is a flipside to the coin, one arguing in defense at leaving THOHH as is: Netflix's own series 13 Reasons Why.
Although season one was riddled with controversy, namely its graphic depictions of violence and accusations that it glamorized suicide, it told the story with clean precision. Season two, however, meant the end of Jay Asher's source material, and the season ultimately drew out a storyline that should have ended with Hannah's 13th tape, stretching the pain and heartache and surrounding itself in even more controversy thanks to the piling on of additional hard-hitting storylines in an attempt to answer the question "what comes next?"
Running out of source material doesn't necessarily spell doom for a series, however, and The Haunting of Hill House could easily transition into something of an anthology, following in the footsteps of FX's American Horror Story and SyFy's Channel Zero by shifting the focus to an entirely different haunting. Doing so, however, would run the risk of ruining the integrity of season one and also no longer make it about the haunting of Hill House.
Ultimately, horror works best when things are left to the imagination, and any possible future seasons of The Haunting of Hill House exploring Hill House's past, the ghosts residing inside, or even one of the remaining Crain siblings would take away the air of mystery that was left at the season's conclusion.
All of that being said, if Netflix chooses to capitalize on The Haunting of Hill House's success and grants it a renewal, there is a 100 percent guarantee that many will be sitting on their couch with their eyes glued to the screen, because honestly, the series was just too good.
The Haunting of Hill House is currently available for streaming on Netflix.