In 2018, The Haunting of Hill Home grew to become a Halloween-season hit for Netflix with its generation-spanning story of a household laid low with supernatural entities in a haunted mansion. The 10-episode sequence was so positively obtained that Netflix introduced a follow-up challenge just a few months later. Now, The Haunting of Bly Manor is about to supply one more fashionable reimagining of a traditional gothic horror story.
The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres October 9 on Netflix, and though it feels just like Hill Home in how its story unfolds (and even shares a number of forged members with its predecessor), Bly Manor nonetheless provides loads of potent scares and narrative twists to maintain you guessing whereas wrapping its story in a recent set of themes.
Sequence 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 Home actress Victoria Pedretti portrays Dani Clayton, the younger governess whose expertise on the household’s seemingly idyllic summer season residence takes a terrifying flip when the kids start appearing surprisingly and supernatural entities make their presence identified.
Again to the previous
Though The Haunting of Bly Manor is thematically completely different from Hill Home, a lot of the story construction and framing of the sequence 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 Home, which generated lots of its greatest revelations from the sudden convergence of the characters’ particular person story arcs. That pattern continues with Bly Manor, which equally devotes giant spans of its story — in some circumstances, total episodes — to a personality’s historical past and perspective on the occasions to date, 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 adverse for Bly Manor, as anybody conversant in Flanagan’s previous work — significantly Hill Home — will enter the sequence with a stage 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 factor it shares with Hill Home, both. One of many elements of the Hill Home that gave it a hearty dose of second-viewing attraction was Flanagan’s knack for inserting refined parts in scenes that foreshadow occasions to come back or just reward eagle-eyed viewers. The recognition of Hill Home led to numerous articles in regards to the distinctive ghosts that appeared particularly scenes however possible 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 Home forged members — often make Bly Manor really feel a bit too acquainted, however thankfully, the spectacular performances from the forged and a few vital thematic variations assist set the brand new sequence aside from its predecessor.
Horror with coronary heart
Pedretti is especially entertaining as the previous schoolteacher who arrives on the manor with some severe baggage of her personal, solely to search out herself in the midst of a much more sinister ordeal. Her character’s arc has her pivoting between moments of heart-wrenching helplessness and provoking energy, and he or she makes each extremes appear equally believable in her portrayal of a girl struggling to be snug in her personal pores and skin.
T’Nia Miller and Rahul Kohli additionally ship memorable performances because the longtime housekeeper and cook dinner on the property, respectively. Each actors dive deep into their characters and switch roles that would have simply been disposable within the story into all-too-human figures you turn out to be more and more invested in because the terrifying story unfolds.
Younger actors Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelie Smith carry out properly 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 sequence.
Praiseworthy performances apart, it’s the story’s themes that the majority differentiate Bly Manor from Hill Home ultimately.
The place The Haunting of Hill Home used the gothic horror style to discover the methods habit, 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 Home famously (or maybe infamously) had audiences alternating between screaming and crying with its surprisingly resonant emotional depth, and Bly Manor accomplishes the same feat. The person love tales on the core of every character’s arc in Bly Manor are genuine and highly effective, making your entire sequence really feel surprisingly hopeful reasonably than bleak. That’s not a straightforward sentiment to tug off in a gothic horror story, and it’s a credit score to Flanagan’s imaginative and prescient for the sequence and its gifted forged that Bly Manor is ready to strike that tough tone so properly.
Gothic horror has all the time been about extra than simply the scares, and with each The Haunting of Hill Home and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan has confirmed himself to be not solely conscious of that truth, however snug with all the nuance and potential the style provides. 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.