REVIEW: ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Is A Ghost Story…Til It’s Not
If you're looking for 90 minutes of jump scares, you won't find them here...
...but if you watched The Haunting of Hill House back in 2018, you already know that.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is a follow-up, but it's not. It's similar, but it's not. Some of the actors return (Victoria Pedretti, who played Nell Crain in the first one, is the lead in this one, which I love because I sooo wanted to see more of her in Hill House), but not as the same characters.
Basically, it's a new story with some similar components. For me, the most familiar was the song below, which is featured in both series. It was kind of like a warm blanket, welcoming you back to the couch.
I'm a horror fan and, I'll admit, The Haunting of Hill House felt a little slow for me. And then I realized that I'd been expecting 90 minutes of jump scares and blood and gore when, in fact, they gave us 10 full episodes of story that should really be appreciated.
It gives you time to connect with each character and each backstory where most scary movies would try to pile everything into a two-hour box, thus leaving the viewer unsatisfied. In hindsight, while both series moved slowly, they're satisfying.
Personally, I couldn't get enough of Owen. I could watch him read the phone book.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is nine episodes (and production literally finished ONE WEEK before the pandemic hit) and each episode is very well used. Just when you think that you hate a character, you find out their backstory and why they are the way that they are.
In the end, as the bride says, "It's not a ghost story, it's a love story." And, while the horror fan in me was satisfied with the drawn-out scares, the human part of me ugly-cried at the end. It was much more well-balanced than Hill House, and you felt like you were part of the staff at Bly.
If you don't have time for a nine-episode series and you're looking for a quick horror fix, this isn't for you. If you've got the time to spare for a great story, though, I can't suggest it enough. It's perfectly splendid.