What We're Watching: Netflix's 'The Haunting of Bly Manor'

What We're Watching: Netflix's 'The Haunting of Bly Manor'

The Haunting of Bly Manor text on a watery backgroun

I completely beloved The Haunting of Hill Home when it was launched on Netflix final yr. I wished a second season however knew that wasn’t doable for the reason that story had a really satisfying ending. However I bought to have my cake and eat it too, as The Haunting was later introduced as an anthology sequence, with The Haunting of Bly Manor because the second season. Bly Manor was launched final week and I’ve had an opportunity to observe all of it now.

For starters, this isn’t your “typical” horror (if such a factor even existed within the first place). It’s refined horror, with what occurs within the background typically way more terrifying than what’s proper in entrance of you. It’s my favourite type of horror (nicely, virtually), because it feels extra life like than quite a lot of scary-for-the-sake-of-scary horror flicks.

Bly Manor can be multifaceted horror as a result of it’s virtually a horror story within a horror story within a horror story. Inside a haunted home. There’s quite a bit happening right here, and you actually should pay shut consideration to all the pieces occurring. In reality, as soon as I found out most of the key plot factors, I already wished to observe it a second time to catch the little issues I missed the primary go round.

It Begins Sluggish however Hits a Excessive Word Round Episode 4

The story begins with a rehearsal dinner for a marriage. It’s unclear who’s getting married (a minimum of to begin), nevertheless it’s apparent there’s some historical past between a few the characters within the wedding ceremony celebration. It begins with a speech, then transitions to drinks and tales amongst individuals, when one lady speaks up and says she “has a narrative” however shortly notes that’s it’s not her story.

That specific bit can’t be ignored, as a result of it units the tone for Bly Manor proper out of the gate. From that time ahead, this lady is the narrator of the story, and there a moments each episode or two to remind you of it with some voiceover. Save for one storyteller-driven episode, the story tells itself.

There are solely 9 episodes within the season, and also you’ll spend the primary few making an attempt to get a really feel for the characters in Bly Manor. There’s Bly’s inherited proprietor, Henry Wingrave; the housekeeper, Hannah Grose; the cook dinner, Owen; the gardener, Jamie; Henry’s niece and nephew, Miles and Flora; and the American au pair that the story revolves round, Dani Clayton. Dani is, for all intents and functions, the present’s foremost character. Whereas these are the first characters, backstory characters like Peter Quint and Rebecca Jessel are simply as necessary to the general story.

Dani Clayton at Bly Manor

Every character is nuanced and sophisticated, so that you’ll even have to determine what’s actually happening with every of them. It’s established early on that Dani is working from one thing, however you’ll have to observe a number of episodes to determine what that factor is. It’s additionally clear from the beginning that one thing is awry on the manor, nevertheless it’s unclear what it truly is. In case you watched Hill Home, nonetheless, examine your expectations on the door—this can be a completely completely different kind of haunting.

The primary handful of episodes set the precedent for the present after which take a flip round episode 4 the place you begin to get some backstory. Varied backstories proceed by way of the subsequent handful of episodes—together with the anticipated backstory of The Woman of the Lake in episode eight—earlier than all of it involves a conclusion in episode 9. The weaving of present story with backstory could be a little exhausting to comply with at instances ( you, episode 5), nevertheless it turns into clearer as you method the finale.

It’s a Story About Horror, however It’s Additionally About Love

One of many greatest complaints I heard about Bly Manor upon launch was that it isn’t as scary as Hill Home. That’s true to some extent, particularly as you get nearer to the finale—it turns into much less of a narrative about ghosts and hauntings and extra of a narrative about individuals, relationships, feelings, and even love.

A collection of old dolls in a dark attic
However it has some creepy moments. Netflix/YouTube.com

However that’s a giant a part of what makes Bly Manor particular. Each character has a brokenness about them, which turns into a bond between them (even when they don’t understand it). They’re all very completely different individuals with very completely different tales, however the frequent thread that binds all of them is ache. They ache due to loss in a single kind or one other, however they discover consolation in one another.

And the story of ache isn’t simply true for the dwelling characters within the story, but in addition the lifeless ones. I’m not one to supply spoilers so I received’t go into element there, however the storytelling all through is heartfelt and real in a means that you just don’t typically discover in most horror.

It’s Price Watching however Isn’t with out Its Personal Points

The Lady of the Lake rises from the water in The Haunting of Bly Manor

I actually loved The Haunting of Bly Manor, however as with most exhibits or motion pictures, if you consider it lengthy sufficient you’ll discover little quirks all through that don’t add up.

As you get misplaced in every episode, you’ll virtually neglect that it’s a narrative being advised at a gathering, save for the occasional voiceover from the storyteller. However there are particular components of the story that you must surprise how the storyteller knew within the first place—issues that have been seemingly solely identified by one or two characters. There are additionally different particulars all through that don’t fairly add up, however I received’t point out these as to keep away from spoilers.

These sorts of moments create small holes within the general story being advised, however hey—nothing is ideal. I didn’t discover them jarring sufficient to interrupt the general movement of the story being advised or the sweetness held inside the haunted partitions of Bly Manor.

Nuanced or not, Bly Manor is a superb watch that I wholeheartedly suggest not simply to horror followers, however anybody who loves an excellent story and might deal with only a slight quantity of horror.

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