In the second season of his anthology series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, creator Mike Flanagan tells more than just a ghost story. Loosely based on Henry James’s novel The Turn of the Screw, this adaptation tells a story of loss, sorrow, and most importantly, love.
The story begins with Dani (Victoria Pedretti), a young American woman looking for work in England. After applying for a job, she found in the newspaper, she is hired to be the au pair for two young children who have lost their parents. Upon her arrival to their summer home, Bly Manor, her story becomes intertwined with those of the children, their uncle (Henry Thomas), the housekeeper (T’Nia Miller), chef (Rahul Kohli), and groundskeeper (Amelia Eve). Dani is soon forced to confront the ghosts of her past, as well as those lurking on the grounds of Bly Manor.
Two of the main themes in The Haunting of Bly Manor are love and loss, and how one can be used to overcome the other. Quite a few love stories are told, all of them quite different from each other, and each both sad and beautiful in their own ways. This is not just a typical horror series. It does not rely on cheap jump scares; most of the terror comes from dramatic irony. This, paired with the mystery that surrounds the characters and Bly Manor itself, makes for a suspenseful and entertaining show.
If you go into this series expecting a terrifying follow up to The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor will fall short. In terms of horror, it just does not compare. It lacks the dark mood and atmosphere of its predecessor. However, it is still able to tell a beautiful story, thanks to the writing and great acting. Child actors Amelia Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth do an amazing job in such grown up roles.
If you are in the right headspace for a sad and haunting tale, this miniseries is for you. Even if you scare easily, this is a show that you can and should watch. It is more of a suspenseful drama than a horror series and will not leave you shaking in your boots. The Haunting of Bly Manor is both visually appealing and emotionally draining. In nine one-hour long episodes, it can tell viewers multiple intertwining stories that fall together beautifully. The Haunting of Bly Manor is a Netflix original series and can be found on Netflix.