Review: The Haunting of Bly Manor Is A Splendid Love Story

The Haunting of Bly Manor will offer plenty of scares, but underneath the terror is a marvelous love tale. Two years after The Haunting of Hill House, Mike Flanagan returns with another immaculate series. Much like its predecessor, The Haunting of Bly Manor will captivate audiences with its likable characters, brilliant performances, spooky ghosts, and a story that every person can learn from. This series addresses life and death in a beautifully poetic manner.

In the past, Flanagan has made it clear that The Haunting of Bly Manor is a gothic romance, and he meant that wholeheartedly. This series will make some cry, laugh, smile, and scream with terror. At its core, this is probably one of the best love stories told from the horror genre. Flanagan and his team have no issue taking you on a thought-provoking journey through the haunted halls of the Bly estate. loosely based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, The Haunting of Bly Manor stars Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Cohen, Amelia Eve, T’Nia Miller, Rahul Kohli, Tahirah Sharif, Amelie Smith, Benjamin Ainsworth, Kate Siegel, Catherine Parker, and Henry Thomas.

The Bly estate in The Haunting of Bly Manor

This gothic tale takes place in the 1980s and follows Dani Clayton, a young governess hired by Henry Wingrave (Thomas) to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they become his responsibility. Their previous au pair, Rebecca Jessel (Sharif), unfortunately, has left the picture. Upon arrival, Dani is greeted by Flora (Smith) and Miles (Ainsworth) Wingrave, Owen (Kohli), and Hannah Grose (Miller). There is another character Dani meets, later on, Jamie (Eve). Each has their own roles to fill at the manor just like Dani, their new guest. Owen is a chef, Hannah is the groundskeeper, and Jamie is the gardener. They all have suffered some sort of loss, and that’s what unites them as they come to terms with their own grief. Dani is haunted by apparitions during her stay, and these apparitions are held together by the grips of a heartbroken soul.

It’s worth noting that the series kicks off in Northern California at a wedding, but the year is 2007. Most of the central story is placed in France during the 1980s, and it all leads to a beautifully wrapped conclusion. Dani, the young governess, is an American overwhelmed with grief, haunted by a ghostly image, and wants to move on from it. She hopes to make an impact in the lives of these two orphans, Flora and Miles. Miles returned home early from boarding school after being kicked out. Flora, his younger sister is absolutely splendid and lights up every room she enters. Every character is heartbroken, and these broken hearts are what makes them so likable. The Haunting of Bly Manor effectively develops each resident of Bly, so viewers will understand the pain they are going through, or have felt.

Flora at Bly in The Haunting of Bly Manor

As mentioned, The Haunting of Bly Manor is a love story, but it’s also a story about accepting that life has a beginning and an ending. Love isn’t easy, but if you find the right person it’s worth enduring the pain that comes with it. The writing is so detailed and heartfelt, it makes these characters more relatable. Similar to Hill House, this new story offers characters that have several layers, and each one has dealt with a tragedy that anyone watching can relate to. It addresses these hard themes of mortality and life after death in a way that will warm everyone’s heart. The Haunting of Bly Manor is horror, but the horror is heartwarming while being terrifying.

Pedretti is amazing, as is the rest of the cast, but there is a standout performance for myself, and it comes from Siegel who is only in one episode. This is a stand-alone episode, and the series has yet to reveal its title, but Siegel is fantastic here. She’s always been an incredible actress, and this performance was just another example of the talent she possesses. It’s a heartwarming, depressing, and emotionally draining performance to watch at times. Also, it’s accompanied by a wonderful narration from a surprise cast member. Her role is vital to the overall narrative, and she delivers the strongest performance. The Newton Brothers return to offer another superb score, and they make Siegel’s scenes that much better. She will have viewers glued as they stare with rapt attention, and many might find a reason to cry from it all because the story of her character is heartbreaking.

The lady in the lake in The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor is another triumphant outing for Flanagan, who has been a blessing to the horror genre for quite some time. While not as frightening as its predecessor, The Haunting of Bly Manor is a perfectly splendid adventure from start to finish. It offers compelling characters, stellar writing, and just an overall well-crafted horror story, with love as its centerpiece. A superior adaptation that fans of The Haunting of Hill House will equally love.

 

By Eric Trigg

 I am Horror fanatic that can't go a single month without watching something horror related. Buffy Summers, Sidney Prescott, and Harry Potter for president. The fact that sequels exist proves there is no perfect film. 

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