With Halloween around the corner, many people are getting into the spirit by visiting pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and of course, watching scary movies and TV shows. The highly anticipated and newly released, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is the second entry of The Haunting anthology series created by Mike Flanagan. Based on Henry James’ novella The Turn of The Screw, Bly Manor made its Netflix debut on October 9, 2020.
Once Bly Manor was released on Netflix, I started and finished it in three days. I hadn’t watched The Haunting of Hill House yet, so Bly Manor was my introduction to the series and needless to say, I was not disappointed. Bly Manor is not your typical scary story, it’s actually a love story (if you decide to watch, you’ll get the reference)! The show follows the story of young American au pair, Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti), and her relationship with those who live, work, and haunt the England-based Bly Manor. Pedretti also plays the role of Love in the Netflix series You, so I had some reservations about how she was going to pull off this role of a sweet, non-sociopathic governess. Again, I was not disappointed. Dani quickly became one of my favorite characters, but it’s hard not to love or at least empathize with the characters in Bly Manor—even the ones who are meant to be unlikable.
One of the central themes of Bly Manor, the power of memories, was heavily reflected through the setting. The old, dark, and seemingly cold mansion was set back in a secluded area in England. The walls of Bly seemed to be haunted by more than just ghosts, but rather the memories that each character held. Whether their memories tormented them or clouded their reality, each character was oppressed by their own minds. This element provides the viewer with a realistic horror experience in the sense that the characters become humanized and relatable.
Something that really surprised me about Bly Manor was that while I was watching, I was more interested in the intricacies of the characters and storyline rather than the horror aspect. For any horror lovers, the scare factor of Bly Manor will seem to be equivalent to the scare factor of a Disney Halloween movie. That’s not to say that you won’t get a few good jumps while you watch, but like I said, Bly Manor truly is a love story.
I felt that Bly Manor wrapped up in a really satisfying way. The layers of time change that the show implemented throughout all connected in the end and for the most part, the characters ultimately found some level of peace. The Haunting of Bly Manor is definitely an unconventional kind of horror show in the sense that you probably won’t have nightmares from it. However, this perfectly splendid storyline is something that you do not want to miss out on. So, if you’re looking to add some unexpected romance to your spooky season, Bly Manor is a must watch.