Happy Halloween, everybody! We hope you’re enjoying the spookiest day of the year, even though it probably looks a little different than normal. Many of us don’t have Halloween plans this year (especially if we don’t have kids!) because of COVID. Lucky for you, Netflix stepped up to the plate and gifted us the spookiest of spooky shows: The Haunting of Bly Manor.
What are you waiting for? Grab your favorite snack, a cozy blanket/pet/person or other comfort item (trust me, you’ll need it), and get ready to binge this horror mini-series that will stay with you long after it’s over.
Is This the Sequel to “The Haunting of Hill House”?
Many of us are familiar with The Haunting of Hill House, released on Netflix in October of 2018. Though the jump scares in Hill House are few and far between, the creepy factor is so high that it reportedly caused some viewers to get sick. This was not at all my experience watching Hill House — though definitely chilling, it’s far from the scariest material I’ve seen on TV. In fact, I loved it so much I’ve seen it twice.
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Needless to say, when I heard the creators of Hill House were coming out with a second mini-series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, I was thrilled. Bly Manor is not a sequel to Hill House, but in an American Horror Story-esque move, the creators brought back many of our Hill House favorites to play new roles in Bly Manor (including the impeccable Victoria Pedretti). The result? A fabulous amalgam of the new and familiar, the comforting and terrifying.
Bly Manor: Horror, Romance, or Fairytale?
If you’re not familiar with Hill House, never fear (pun intended). Bly Manor is perfectly splendid on its own; in fact, it might be a better beginner’s foray into this new genre of horror than Hill House. Unlike traditional horror movies that rely heavily on jump scares, gruesome details, and high shock value to bring in viewers, The Haunting of Bly Manor relies more on your imagination and expectations to instill that fear factor in you.
Don’t get me wrong, the mini-series definitely has its moments that are downright terrifying! Most of the show, however, keeps you on the edge of your seat by teasing what may happen. You’re lulled into a sense of security, which makes it all the more frightening when the show does deliver its blatant scare moments.
Bly Manor also beautifully incorporates several elements of traditional horror in new, innovative ways. Ghosts? Check. Creepy children? Check. Moving dolls? Check. Faceless lake people? Not actually sure I’ve seen that one before, but check. But while other horror pieces often present these elements as antagonistic, Bly Manor is more vague and slow about characterizing them as good or bad, leaving the viewers to decide for themselves.
The storytelling and cinematography are also masterful. This mini-series relies on an asynchronous timeline of breadcrumbs for the viewer. The story is just so dang good that I was so wrapped up in trying to piece it together, and at times practically forgot this is a horror series. Bly Manor also watches almost like a fairytale. The manor and its grounds, even the creepy lake and the creepy chapel and the creepy gardens, are just charming. I’d be dying to visit if I wasn’t worried about actually dying there.
Most importantly, though, is that The Haunting of Bly Manor is a love story at its core. There are several different romantic storylines woven throughout the mini-series, which help balance out some of the horror elements. This made me way more invested in the characters than I am in a typical horror movie, which is definitely one of Bly Manor’s biggest strengths. I’ll stop there for fear of giving too much away!
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Binge this series tonight! The whole thing. Because, trust me, once you start, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll be left with an ache for characters you’ve grown to love, and a longing for more of them, and you’ll probably be scared to sleep alone. I promise, though, your night is about to get perfectly splendid.
Have you watched The Haunting of Bly Manor yet, and what did you think? Are you going to binge this spooky show tonight? Let us know in the comments below!
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