The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres October 9 on Netflix.
By Ariba Bhuvad
If you were a fan of The Haunting of Hill House, then you are in for a treat with its anthology follow-up, The Haunting of Bly Manor. While it doesn’t quite match the level of horror we had with Hill House, there is a hauntingly beautiful story that unfolds through the course of the season. It’s a slow burn that builds up and gives you a sense of satisfaction as the season comes to an end.
Bly Manor brings back familiar faces from Hill House including Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas, and Carla Gugino, but also mixes it up with some fresh faces including iZombie’s Rahul Kohli. Both the new and old cast members did a spectacular job keeping the horror element of this anthology series alive. I’m not sure who does the casting, but they do an amazing job selecting individuals who know how to play out a character within this very unique style of horror.
I say unique because, similar to the first season, Bly Manor maintains the narrative element we saw before. There aren’t just jumps and scares at every moment, waiting around the corner, but rather there is a very intricate story involved here too. You get to know and understand the characters, their plight, and the history behind this particular manor and what past horrors ail it. Series creator Mike Flanagan really has a handle on how to tell a horror story that actually has substance to it – you’re truly pulled into the center of what is going on.
As I’ve already mentioned, Bly Manor doesn’t possess the level of horror we saw with Hill House, but it most certainly has its moments. I even recall myself genuinely screaming out of fear and surprise, but it doesn’t quite have the “ahh” factor that Hill House did. Some may view that as a bad thing, but I think the trade-off for a bit more story and less “jumpy” moments worked out in their favor.
Whether you love pure horror or a profound, literary horror story, you will find Bly Manor an enjoyable watch, and certainly not a disappointment. Don’t expect to be hiding under your covers the entire time (trust me, this is something I’m always doing during horror movies/show and I didn’t do it much with this season), but certainly expect to walk away this season with a deeper appreciation for the unique ways a horror story can be told.
I give The Haunting of Bly Manor a B.