In 2018, The Haunting of Hill House turned a Halloween-season hit for Netflix with its generation-spanning story of a household suffering from supernatural entities in a haunted mansion. The 10-episode collection was so positively acquired that Netflix introduced a follow-up venture a couple of months later. Now, The Haunting of Bly Manor is ready to supply one more trendy reimagining of a basic gothic horror story.
The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres October 9 on Netflix, and though it feels much like Hill House in how its story unfolds (and even shares a number of solid members with its predecessor), Bly Manor nonetheless gives loads of potent scares and narrative twists to maintain you guessing whereas wrapping its story in a contemporary set of themes.
Series creator and co-producer Mike Flanagan returns behind the digicam for The Haunting of Bly Manor, which follows an American lady who agrees to take care of a British businessman’s niece and nephew on the household’s nation property. Hill House actress Victoria Pedretti portrays Dani Clayton, the younger governess whose expertise on the household’s seemingly idyllic summer season dwelling takes a terrifying flip when the youngsters start appearing surprisingly and supernatural entities make their presence recognized.
Back to the previous
Although The Haunting of Bly Manor is thematically completely different from Hill House, a lot of the story construction and framing of the collection will really feel acquainted to followers of the latter, for higher or worse.
Flanagan has an affinity for toying with timelines and making heavy use of flashbacks to maintain the viewers unsure of how key occasions join in every character’s historical past and the overarching story. That narrative approach was put to good use in The Haunting of Hill House, which generated lots of its largest revelations from the sudden convergence of the characters’ particular person story arcs. That development continues with Bly Manor, which equally devotes giant spans of its story — in some circumstances, complete episodes — to a personality’s historical past and perspective on the occasions to this point, then brings that narrative detour again into the first story arc for a revelatory aha second.
Falling again on that storytelling machine isn’t essentially a destructive for Bly Manor, as anybody conversant in Flanagan’s previous work — notably Hill House — will enter the collection with a degree of consolation that permits you to spend extra time absorbing what’s occurring on the display screen as a substitute of struggling to make sense of it.
The storytelling construction of The Haunting of Bly Manor isn’t the one ingredient it shares with Hill House, both. One of the elements of the Hill House that gave it a hearty dose of second-viewing attraction was Flanagan’s knack for inserting refined components in scenes that foreshadow occasions to come back or just reward eagle-eyed viewers. The reputation of Hill House led to numerous articles in regards to the distinctive ghosts that appeared specifically scenes however doubtless went unnoticed, and Bly Manor continues to check your attentiveness to what’s occurring within the background of each scene.
These qualities — together with the presence of a number of Hill House solid members — sometimes make Bly Manor really feel a bit too acquainted, however luckily, the spectacular performances from the solid and a few important thematic variations assist set the brand new collection other than its predecessor.
Horror with coronary heart
Pedretti is especially entertaining as the previous schoolteacher who arrives on the manor with some critical baggage of her personal, solely to seek out herself in the course of a much more sinister ordeal. Her character’s arc has her pivoting between moments of heart-wrenching helplessness and galvanizing power, and he or she makes each extremes appear equally believable in her portrayal of a girl struggling to be comfy in her personal pores and skin.
T’Nia Miller and Rahul Kohli additionally ship memorable performances because the longtime housekeeper and prepare dinner on the property, respectively. Both actors dive deep into their characters and switch roles that might have simply been disposable within the story into all-too-human figures you change into more and more invested in because the terrifying story unfolds.
Young actors Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelie Smith carry out effectively past their years as siblings Miles and Flora Wingrave, portraying their characters with simply sufficient nuance to maintain the extent of thriller round their experiences excessive all through the collection.
Praiseworthy performances apart, it’s the story’s themes that almost all differentiate Bly Manor from Hill House ultimately.
Where The Haunting of Hill House used the gothic horror style to discover the methods dependancy, trauma, and abuse can drive wedges right into a household and ripple outward for generations, The Haunting of Bly Manor is, at its coronary heart, a narrative in regards to the energy of affection and reminiscence to transcend our mortal lives.
Hill House famously (or maybe infamously) had audiences alternating between screaming and crying with its surprisingly resonant emotional depth, and Bly Manor accomplishes an analogous feat. The particular person love tales on the core of every character’s arc in Bly Manor are genuine and highly effective, making all the collection really feel surprisingly hopeful relatively than bleak. That’s not a simple sentiment to tug off in a gothic horror story, and it’s a credit score to Flanagan’s imaginative and prescient for the collection and its gifted solid that Bly Manor is ready to strike that tough tone so effectively.
Gothic horror has all the time been about extra than simply the scares, and with each The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan has confirmed himself to be not solely conscious of that truth, however comfy with all the nuance and potential the style gives. In doing so, he’s additionally introduced the works of authors Shirley Jackson and Henry James again into the general public eye — one other commendable accomplishment — and supplied one more reminder that the horror style actually is timeless.
All 9 episodes of The Haunting of Bly Manor premiere October 9 on Netflix.