The second installment of Mike Flanagan’s chilling anthology “The Haunting of Bly Manor” tells a poignant, Gothic-themed romance story that captivates the audience. This particular mini-series is influenced by the late 19th century horror novella by Henry James “The Turn of the Screw.”
In comparison to its predecessor “The Haunting of Hill House,” the new series does perhaps lack a cohesive flow and punch due to the particular choices in narrative which tangles the audience in a web of complexities. However, it still stands as a delightful piece of storytelling and is recommendable to stream for Halloween.
The narrative is centered around Dani Clayton. Played by Victoria Pedretti, the newly hired, American au-pair navigates secrets within the cursed manor of the Wingraves as she tends to two orphans. There is a mystery behind the deaths of the children’s parents and the previous au-pair Rebecca Jessel, as well.
Within the nine episodes, viewers gain stirring backgrounds and tragic stories regarding each of the main protagonists. From Hannah Grose, played by T’Nia Miller, the housekeeper whose memory seems to fleet by the second, to the doomed romance that Rebecca Jessel, which Tahirah Sharif plays, viewers fall deep in. By the end, the audience is able to weave in the myriad of tales and see the encompassing theme of love and loss.
It must be noted that just like “The Haunting of Hill House,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor” places a focal point towards family and love. Concentrating on this idea of a family overcoming horrors from both the real world and the ghost realm.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Flanagan stated “When we fall in love, [it’s] kind of giving birth to a new ghost, something that is going to follow us for the rest of our lives.”
This sentiment is manifested throughout the entirety of the series which expounds “The Haunting of Bly Manor” from a traditional horror story. It breaks the mold of usual ghost stories as it centers this idea that ghosts come from love and a mourning of a lost love.
This emotional resonance tied into this series makes us empathize with the characters very deeply, as they are portrayed so sincerely and seem unfiltered, which makes the plight they experience much more heart-wrenching and bittersweet.
Prepare to ache and yearn for this hauntingly beautiful tale. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is available for streaming on Netflix.