The Haunting of Bly Manor Review
Another 'The Haunting of' series on Netflix and another mixed bag of a show. I had to re-read my review of The Haunting of Hill House because I felt as though I might end up making a lot of the same points.
First things first, is it scary? For me, no. Can I appreciate that some parts are creepy? In a few instances yes. It feels like the ghosts are given far too much exposure early on, too many clear, long-lasting shots of them for it to be scary. While the ghosts aren't scary, the way they operate can be quite compelling to watch- I can't really go into detail without giving spoilers.
Mostly, the show is about love stories from the past and present in which the show is set with the hauntings playing second fiddle to it. The show works in creating interesting characters and some of the ghosts do turn out to have a decent back story. There is no real drama or conflict between the characters in the present day besides Dani, the au pair, looking after the two children of Bly Manor who often act strangely.
Unfortunately, and this isn't to brag, I worked out two key plot points midway through the second episode. I didn't know how it works or all the details about it but I predicted the basic essence of a couple of plot twists early on. Even knowing this, it can still be quite enjoyable to see exactly how it unfolds and there is more to it than meets the eye. The ending wraps up all the stories pretty well with most things explained to a great extent; I didn't need to check twice or read online to understand what happened
Overall, I think I prefer The Haunting of Bly Manor over Hill House (maybe it's English bias). While the story does cut between the past and present, it is much smoother in Bly Manor than Hill House and the fact that most of the show takes place in the manor makes it easier to follow overall. Hill House was more psychological from both a human and paranormal viewpoint while Bly Manor was a bit more clear cut that the ghosts are real.
I will say I was intrigued to find out what happened next after each episode which kept me watching so I must have enjoyed it to some extent. However, I am still waiting on a series like this to feel like a horror series. I can't say I actually remember much of Hill House so time will tell if Bly Manor leaves any lasting impression but for now, I would say it is worth a watch.