Here are all the insanely creepy times 'Haunting of Hill House' foreshadowed the 'Red Room'
If you haven't seen all of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix yet, first of all: WHY NOT?? And secondly, you really ought to get on it pronto because you are missing out, my friends.
It's got everything you could ever want from a horror/drama: spooky subtleties such as hidden ghosts and creepy figures, a well-thought out, emotionally-complex storyline, and - best of all - a mysterious red room that you never noticed was foreshadowing its ending the whole time.
Yes, folks, that creepy red door was spilling its secrets to you right from episode one, but the chances are that you never noticed it.
This article will contain spoilers from this point on, so if you're not ready to learn the truth about the red room just yet, turn back now.
Otherwise, let's proceed...
In the very first episode, we get a hint that at least one location in the house isn't actually there - the treehouse. This happens when Olivia enters the kitchen to ask Steve and Mrs. Dudley whether either of them have seen Luke, and Steve says, "I assume you tried the treehouse?"
Olivia thinks this is a joke, retorting, "Very funny mister."
And if that was too subtle for you, we later hear Hugh tell Steve that "there was no treehouse" in episode eight.
Similar things happen when Steve mentions the game room and Nell mentions the toy room; both times, they tell Mrs. Dudley about their experiences, and both times she appears confused about what room they're talking about.
But Mrs. Dudley had worked in that house for decades - so why wouldn't she know what they were talking about?
Shirley's experiences in the family room were far more subtle, as they are never alluded to by anyone else. However, the fact that we only see her in there should have been a giveaway that there was something not quite right about the place.
Likewise, when Olivia takes to her reading room, she does so alone.
Theo's experience in the red room (or the dance room, as it appeared to her) is also more explicitly explained in the final episode, when we see Shirley and Nell trying to break into the room - meanwhile Theo is inside, thinking that Luke is playing a prank on her when nobody appears to be outside.
The ghost of Nell explains to her siblings that the red room is the stomach of the house, and that it's been digesting them all along. But we should have worked that out before when Olivia told us that a house is like a body, with pipes like veins and walls like bones. The Crains were trying to tell each other - and us - all along that the house was consuming them, but we just didn't see it.
But, hold on a minute - what about Hugh? Everyone else sees the red room, but he can never gain access. He explains that he's tried taking the hinges off before, and we see him trying to break in with a crow bar, but to no avail. It's only once he succumbs to the house that he is able to enter the room and find it as appealing as everybody else did all those years earlier. Finally, after struggling for so long, he is reunited with his wife and his daughter - presumably so that they can all be consumed forever.
Now, this is just my theory, but the fact that Hugh is always so determined to enter the red room but never can is because he was always acutely aware of what it really was. He knew the dangers of the house, and tried his best to keep his family away from there for so long. It's only once he completely relents and gives in to the house that he is allowed to enter - because only then is he weak enough for the house to consume.
Now, go watch it all again and see if you can spot the subtle hints!