Viewers were captivated by The Haunting of Hill House and now the highly anticipated “second season,” The Haunting of Bly Manor is finally hitting the streaming service.
The Haunting of Bly Manor begins streaming on October 9, and fans of Hill House have eagerly been awaiting it. It’s been two years since the Crain family captured our hearts and the ghosts of Hill House gave us goosebumps, so we are more than ready for another spooky experience.
The Haunting of Bly Manor delivers big time. Much as Hill House was very loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s acclaimed novel, Bly Manor was inspired by Henry James’s classic novella The Turn of the Screw. And just as its predecessor did, this season pulls us in by giving us interesting and multi-layered characters to become attached to.
The first episode opens with a guest at a wedding rehearsal telling a story. The story is about Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti), who is hired as an au pair for two young children, Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) and Flora (Amelie Smith). The children’s guardian is their uncle (played by Henry Thomas), who took the children in after the tragic death of their parents. He doesn’t really want to be bothered and the last au pair died on the grounds of Bly Manor, so he just wants a suitable replacement ASAP.
Dani (who is an American) travels to the English countryside to become nanny to these two slightly odd kids. Miles was expelled from his boarding school recently and often acts in a disturbingly adult manner.
Flora, who pronounces almost everything “perfectly splendid,” appears to have a vivid imagination. She’s very cheerful and sweet when she’s not asking Dani to leave everything as it is in her dollhouse or assuring the adults around her that “Dead doesn’t mean gone.”
With Uncle Henry almost always away, the care of the house and the children is left to Dani, the housekeeper Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller), the cook Owen (Rahul Kohli) and the groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve). Everyone in the house genuinely cares about the children, and none of them even second-guess Dani when she claims to have seen a man in the house and on the grounds. She finds a photo of this man, and is told he is Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
Quint disappeared mysteriously, so we are left to wonder if the man Dani sees is truly Peter Quint, or if Quint has died, and she is seeing his ghost. Meanwhile, Flora is making dolls, singing by the lake, and hanging out in the graveyard, and Miles is…well, Miles is kind of creepy.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is another emotional, captivating, well-written story by Mike Flanagan, who is one of the best horror filmmakers in the business. It’s full of his eerie, disturbing images and moments that give you the shivers.
I’m thinking of the scene where Flora is humming a song to herself, and something…some thing behind her is humming along in a raspy, horrible voice. You can see slight movement but you can’t quite see what that something is, and it’s chilling.
Another trademark Flanagan move is to cast actors who embody their characters completely and each actor in The Haunting of Bly Manor, including the children do a bang-up job. Especially captivating is young Amelie Smith, who can switch from chirpy and bright to serious/sad in a heartbeat. She is “perfectly splendid.”
Victoria Pedretti is a troubled, fragile Dani, and her performance is just as impressive as when she played the role of the doomed adult Nell in The Haunting of Hill House.
If you loved The Haunting of Hill House, you should be very pleased with the move to Bly Manor. Keep watching 1428 Elm for my episode recaps!
Are you looking forward to binging The Haunting of Bly Manor? Let us know what you think of the series in our comments section.