Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Netflix series.
When Netflix first released The Haunting of Hill House back in 2018, it garnered rave reviews from critics and viewers alike. So, it’s not surprising that a lot of people were eager to see what the creators can come up with for the television series’s succeeding season. And after two years of waiting, the streaming website finally answered the fans’ prayers and released The Haunting of Bly Manor on their platform.
As many fans already know, the much-awaited second season is not a direct sequel to Hill House, as it follows a different set of characters and features a new plot. And this time around, the cast face another set of menacing ghostly threats in Bly Manor.
Its nine-episode run will leave you in a flurry of emotions–from being startled by the spirits lurking in the shadows to being in tears by the time you reach the last scene. It’s definitely a must-watch series for anyone who appreciates a well-written and well-crafted horror story.
To further convince you of this, I’ve listed down three–as Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) would say– “perfectly splendid” reasons why you would want to watch The Haunting of Bly Manor.
The show doesn’t sacrifice good storytelling for obvious jump scares
Through the years, there have been countless horror movies and television shows that heavily relied on the “scary aspect” of the plot rather than its storytelling. Because of this, a lot of the films in this genre end up having unnecessary jump scares that distract the viewer from actually appreciating the tale behind it.
But Bly Manor differs from these movies and shows in the way that it doesn’t sacrifice its story just for the scare factor. In fact, it frightens its audience by using ghosts as background elements–making the story the focal point of the whole series.
And with regards to the show’s storytelling, it was seamless and intriguing enough to keep viewers, like me, glued to the screens of their devices. I particularly liked how the series contained a lot of foreshadowing elements that would elicit speculation and discussion from viewers as to what would happen next. This was evident in the fifth episode, wherein we come to understand why Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller) continues to see cracks on random places in the house.
Moreover, every character was well-written and given a backstory that could very well explain their complexities. From Viola’s (Kate Siegel) violent past to Peter Quint’s (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) traumatic childhood, their histories have been thoroughly narrated so you would understand why the characters were driven by their actions.
The ghosts are more than just spiritual entities
In an interview with EW, show creator Mike Flanagan shared that he wanted to present the “ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we carry around.” This brings a deeper meaning to the ghosts shown in the series as they have evolved into manifestations of the characters’ emotional well-beings. And this can be seen through Dani (Victoria Pedretti) whose guilt resulted in the creation of her ex fiance Eddie’s (Roby Atal) ghost.
At the heart of the show is a story about love
While watching the whole series, you’ll be met with different love stories which includes Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and Peter Quint’s (Jackson-Cohen) tumultuous relationship, Hannah Grose (Miller) and Owen’s (Rahul Kohli) friendship-turned-romance, and Dani Clayton (Pedretti) and Jamie’s (Amelia Eve) endearing union. However, it is Dani and Jamie’s love story that will make your hearts melt by the end of the series.
Because it is through their love that Dani chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice–to become the lady of the lake so that Viola (Siegel) can never kill another human being again. This selfless act of love on Dani’s part leads to the series’s ultimate conclusion that shows the storyteller (Carla Gugino) being the older version of Jamie.
Although the show is primarily classified as horror, this tragic romance is the one thing that made the story worth telling and one that has left many viewers in a puddle of their own tears.
*NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other streaming platform or program. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of the show.