TV Review: The Haunting Of Bly Manor (Netflix)

The follow-up series to The Haunting of Hill House (although not connected) and created by Mike Flanagan for Netflix, The Haunting Of Bly Manor is loosely based on Henry James‘s work, particularly his 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.

The story tells of Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young governess who is hired by a man (Henry Thomas) to look after his niece and nephew – Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) – at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she meets chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), and housekeeper Mrs Grose (T’Nia Miller). But she soon begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises.

Rating:

Another hauntingly creepy, brilliantly developed and emotionally impacting series from the team behind The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting Of Bly Manor is an exceptional ghost story full of standout performances and characters and twisted narrative.

Of course it isn’t as impressive as Hill House because that’s a series that we weren’t expecting to terrify us so much but also draw is in so emotionally. But while Bly Manor doesn’t have the big scares, it’s much more subtle in its emotional complexity and still manages to have a lasting effect.

What I loved most about this series is that it looks at grief in a different way. Hill House was about pain, fear, and torment, but Bly Manor is more of about the sadness of loss, the lingering memories, the unfinished business, the guilt, the trapped souls, and the images that fade.

I didn’t expect to feel so gripped by the story which had quite a slow start, for me, but the final few episodes really broke me. Beautifully narrated and visually stunning, it has the quality of Hill House but with its own standout moments and characters that deserve credit all on their own.

With Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, and Carla Gugino all returning in new roles, it was great to see them back together again on-screen. The new additions to the cast, including Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Rahul Kohli, T’Nia Miller, Tahirah Sharif, and Amelia Eve, all give brilliant performances too. I especially loved T’Nia Miller’s performance, whose character’s episode is the one that really got me paying attention.

You don’t need to watch The Haunting of Hill House to watch this follow up series, but they’re certainly both worth watching, so just make sure that these are on your Netflix watchlist if they aren’t already.

About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

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