“The Haunting of Bly Manor” thrills viewers

By Annette Quijada

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan strikes again with his second anthology, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” a gothic romance filled with ghosts. Those who enjoyed “The Haunting of Hill House,” be prepared to enter another dark hole filled with ghosts. 

This series is widely based on Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw.”

 The Haunting of Bly Manor begins in 2007, with a ghost story being narrated by an unnamed woman (Carla Gugino). 

The narrator’s story takes place 20 years ago, when an American woman named Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) finds herself trying to escape her previous life. 

She ends up taking a job from a wealthy man, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) who seems to have his share of demons to deal with. 

Clayton takes the job to be an in-house nanny and teacher to his recently orphaned niece and nephew, Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in London. 

With the hope of leaving what’s haunting her behind, Clayton seems to be unfazed with the knowledge that the previous caretaker of the children commited suicide in the manor’s lake. 

 Soon enough Clayton realizes that something must be wrong around the manor. 

Flora insists Clayton not leave her room at night. The housekeeper doesn’t eat. There’s a man creeping around the estate. Clayton can’t seem to not be frightened when looking into a mirror, and the children seem to be able to see things the adults can’t. 

It is safe to say Bly Manor is not anywhere near as scary as Hill House, but Flanagan still creates a successful ghost story. 

Bly Manor lacks the momentum or adrenaline most audiences look for when it comes to scary films or shows. 

Even with the little details in the show that substitute the missing fear that Hill House had such as misty lakes, moving dolls, and mirror pop-ups, it’s not enough. 

With a script that is mostly humorless is dialogue heavy, which aims to hit one’s emotions. The actors are the ones left to carry the series and provide excitement. 

The actors’ performances in the series are strong enough to keep you interested. 

The backstories are the most essential part of the story. The melancholy vibe is vivid in each story. 

Good heartbreaking trauma such as Flora and Miles losing their parents unexpectedly, with performances being able to bring scenes like that to life, ends up carrying the series to the top. 

Flanagan manages to incorporate his character’s psychological trauma to the screen to build the haunting that is needed. 

Flanagan does make the viewer question whether or not the characters that are labeled as villains really are villains, or if they just been through enough trauma.

All in all, audiences who enjoy horror probably won’t be clicking to watch “Bly Manor” on Netflix anytime soon. 

However, for those who enjoy more of a twisted plot filled with dialogue, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” is the ideal show to watch. 

The more horror craving fans will have to wait for future installments for something more spooky from Flanagan.

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