The Haunting of Bly Manor

Just in time for the spooky season, Netflix brings us the second season in the wildly popular The Haunting of… series The Haunting of Bly Manor. How did it fare compared to the Hill House?

The Haunting of Bly Manor, set in the 1980s is the story of Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young American nanny who’s hired to look after two orphaned children by their wealthy Uncle — Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth). Soon after meeting Dani, we’re given a dark and foreboding sense that she’s running from her past and that’s what brings her to England. Upon arriving at Bly Manor, we meet Flora a cute but very strange little girl. The Minor is huge with sprawling property and multiple buildings. Immediately you can feel that this building is special in frightening ways.

The setting and atmosphere in Bly Manor is outstanding and the performances in this series is fantastic. The strange siblings, from Flora’s constant use of the term “perfectly splendid”, Miles and his streak of mean and an old soul feel. Their housekeeper Hanna can often be found staring off blankly into the distance and wandering the house in a dream-like state and constantly needs to be brought back to reality. Each character is designed to draw questions from the viewer as each one is very interesting. Of note, Rahul Kohli’s role as the cook was a standout performance for me and I think it;s high time people take notice of this actor. He’s been in some pretty great roles in fandom up until now but I think he’s poised to become a bright shining star in Hollywood.

Not everything is “perfectly splendid” in Bly Manor. Missing are the more creepy aspects that made Hill House so effective and such a fast fan favorite. Instead I found the moments of creepiness to be fleeting and predictable. They were good but so short lived it fell flat with me. And to be completely honest, while The Haunting of Bly Manor is supposed to be ghost story and it is but at it’s core it’s a love story with ghostly moments. I don’t mind a love story but this wasn’t really what I was hoping for. I was hoping more creep factor, more blood and horror. I found some episodes to be rather boring. I actually felt like I was slogging through the series and there was no real hook for me that kept me binging like I did with Hill House.

The final episode was quite satisfying as it wrapped up the events of the season into a nice tidy little package that I really enjoyed. One scene in particular was haunting and extremely powerful. I loved the direction, the cinematography and the performances were fantastic all around. I liked the season just fine but it just didn’t hit that spot of scary that I was hoping for. 

Incredible acting on everyone’s part
The atmosphere is ominous
Great cinematography

The scare factor fell flat – Not even my wife jumped at anything
The season could easily have been cut down to 6 episodes

The Haunting of Bly Manor lands at Netflix Friday October 9th

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