The Haunting of Bly Manor
An au pair, Dani Clayton, is hired to watch over two wonderful children in posh Bly manor, who turn out to not be wonderful at all.
Spoiler Level: Very Minor
The Haunting series, which pairs The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, acts as Netflix’s American Horror Story. Both series’ feature an overlapping cast despite a different story in different universes. I don’t think the new Haunting series will ever be what American Horror Story is. It’s going to be better.
American Horror Story, despite having some excellent seasons, has terrible ones as well. The Haunting series is consistent. If you’re a fan of Hill House, you’re going to be a fan of Bly Manor. The narratives are told in very similar ways. You get flashbacks mixed with current day, and terrifying things that eventually get explained. The flashbacks are very subtle, yet effective. I was rarely confused for too long about what was happening when.
This series is scary. The director adds a lot of subtle creepiness, with figures moving in the background barely visible to the audience. I’ve never seen this before in horror television, and it’s quite effective. Like in Hill House, the ghosts are terrifying, with deformed bodies and movements.
The acting is incredible. Rarely do you see good child actors, save for Stranger Things. These actors are scarily good at portraying horrible children. The best actor, however, is Victoria Pedretti, who plays Dani. Like in Hill House, she’s excellent at portraying likeable characters, and I wanted for her to be okay throughout the entire narrative.
As far as the writing is concerned, it’s an acquired taste. While I wouldn’t change it, it’s not the most realistic, and it felt like theatre dialogue at times, which is more dramatic. Once you get used to it, however, you start to enjoy the beauty of some of the lines. The characters are well developed. Dani is both caring and kind, while also being hard on the children when they mess up. Peter Quint, one of the antagonists, has a relatability to him that was fascinating to watch. And I’m not even going to start with Hannah Gross, the housekeeper.
Unfortunately, the series starts and ends in an unnecessary way. There are a number of people at a wedding and one character is telling a ghost story, which is the narrative. It doesn’t come up again until the very end and was unnecessary throughout. I believe they used dialogue from the inspiration, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, but I could’ve done without it. Also, it’s hard for me to believe the partygoers sat through the nine hours it would’ve taken to tell this story. Thankfully, it doesn’t take that much screen time, and is quickly forgotten.
One final thing I’ll praise is this series’ ability to capture my attention for nine hour-long episodes. Sure, breaks were taken, but it has an impressive binge-ability. Despite the fact that I had been staring at the screen for an hour, a full hour, I always wanted to watch the next episode.
I would highly recommend this series, especially to fans of Hill House.
The Haunting of Bly Manor: Netflix’s AHS
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Acting - 10/1010/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 10/1010/10
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