The Haunting of Hill House ending sparks dark twist theory thanks to tiny detail

Netflix viewers have been rapidly consuming dark horror The Haunting of Hill House.

Although the outcome looked bleak for much of the series, it ended on a high for the Crain family as dad Hugh sacrificed himself to save his remaining children.

But a tiny detail in the final scenes of the series has sparked a theory that the ending wasn’t as happy as it seemed to be.

The ‘clue’ was pointed out by the actors who play the adult Crain siblings.

Throughout the series, the Red Room is known as an unknown space behind a mysterious locked red door which seems to have no key.

The Haunting of Hill House ending sparks dark twist theory thanks to tiny detail

The door of the Red Room remains ‘locked’ for the whole series
(Image: Netflix)

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In the finale, it’s revealed that each member of the Crain family has actually been unknowingly spending time in this room alone.

Each time, it’s disguised as something that brings them comfort or joy – a games room for Steven, a dance studio for Theo, reading room for mum Liv and a tree house for young Luke.

For Nellie, it’s a toy room and Shirley spends time in it as a ‘family room’ complete with comfy sofas.

The ghost of Nellie describes it as the "stomach" of the house, digesting the family and preying on their fears so it can scare them.

The Haunting of Hill House ending sparks dark twist theory thanks to tiny detail

The Red Room takes on various forms – always with the rectangular window in the centre of the wall
(Image: Netflix)

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The clue

Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who plays Luke, told TheWrap he was waiting for viewers to discover an ‘Easter Egg’ spotted by Kate Siegel, who plays his on-screen sister Theo.

“There’s this thing that happens when we’re all in the Red Room," he said.

"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.]”

The Haunting of Hill House ending sparks dark twist theory thanks to tiny detail

Luke is wearing red Converse in his fantasy
(Image: Netflix)

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Are they still in the Red Room in Hill House?

Oliver pointed out that in the final scene of the show, where Luke is seen celebrating two years of sobriety with his siblings, his cake is bright red.

Similarly in the other Crains’ endings, red items pop out of the screen – Theo’s girlfriend is wearing red lingerie. Shirley is in a red cardigan.

“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,” Oliver continued.

The Haunting of Hill House ending sparks dark twist theory thanks to tiny detail

The actors noticed that the red cake might have been a clue
(Image: Netflix)

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“Um, she went, ‘The cake is red.’ And on set I went, ‘Oh, my God!’ And she went, ‘I don’t know!’"

Fans of the show are now speculating that the Crains never actually made it out of Hill House alive.

The twist would mean the family are still in the Red Room and what we’re seeing as their ‘happy endings’ are actually fantasies being played out in the twisted room.

Oliver says he asked director Mike Flanagan about the presence of the red cake and he replied "I don’t know".

So it’s all somewhat ambiguous. Perhaps they really are in the Red Room – or maybe it’s just a sign that Hill House will never truly leave them.