The Haunting Of Bly Manor Is ‘Perfectly Unsplendid’, Unscary And A Total Bore.
When I started watching The Haunting of Hill House, I wasn’t expecting much from it. I thought it would be the same old cliché horror series with fewer scares and more disappointments as the series would go on. But to my surprise this turned out to be the complete opposite. Terrorising, scary are all understatements for this series. It was emotional, creepy, and everything, When you watch a series like this, you expect the second season to be even better than the first one, but no. It had to be a yawn fest with 0 scares. Not even jump scares. Meh. In case you don’t know, we are talking about The Haunting Of Bly Manor.
Let’s recap the first season before I get into why Bly Manor is nothing like the first one. In Haunting Of The Hill House, we are shown that there is a family that has just moved into a mansion so big that you can have a zoo in one part of the house and you will still have enough space to invite a whole city. Yeah, I just had to let this off my chest. The family consists of a mother father and 5 kids. Initially, everything is rainbows and unicorns until they realise that the house is haunted. Fast forward to twenty-sex years later where everyone is in their mid-30s and 40s. They all reunite at the funeral of their youngest sibling/daughter – Eleanor Crain. That’s when the truth unfolds about the house, their mother, and the ghosts they have encountered.
Now, let’s talk about Bly Manor. The series starts off with a bunch of people gathered around a table for a dinner rehearsal and we see Carla Gugino there as well. Later the bride, groom, and others sit around the fire drinking and chatting away when they talk about ghost stories. That’s when Carla Gugino (I can’t disclose her identity in the series) starts to tell a scary story about Bly Manor and we go into a flashback where we see a lot of familiar faces from The Haunting of Hill House. For starters, we meet Dani (Victoria Pedretti) who is in desperate need to get the position of an au pair at Bly Manor. Since the one before had died by suicide. She meets Henry (Henry Thomas) who is the uncle of the children that need to be taken care of. Initially, he rejects her but a few drinks later he finally gives her the job. Like what? So are you saying I have to take the interviewee for some drinks talk about emotional stuff and I’ll get the job?
Dani finally arrives to the mansion and is immediately welcomed by Flora who must have said ‘perfectly splendid’ at least a million times in 3 seconds of her entering the scene. She is then introduced to Miles who is kind of creepy because he is only 10 years old but acts like a 30-year-old creep who is flirting with Dani. But we later come to know why he acts that way. We are also introduced to Hannah who is the housekeeper.
Now when we say we want to see a bunch of ghosts we mean Samara from The Ring, the girl from The Grudge, bent-neck lady from Hill House, not people who are dead and are roaming on earth looking like humans trapped in Bly Manor. In fact, you can even pass through these ghosts like Naseeruddin Shah from Chamatkar. *Awkward silence* Ghost like these existed back in the early 2000s and even those didn’t scare children and we are full-grown adults who are watching this.
Considering that Mike Flanagan is the maker of this series I was genuinely expecting something to happen in the first episode itself but to my disappointment, all I got to see was a shadow man with glowing eyes that Dani kept seeing in the mirror. Which I will admit was scary at first but then you get used to it and you stare blankly at the screen every time it appears. The rest of the ghosts just had faded faces because if they are trapped in the manor for too long their faces start to disappear and they lose their memory. Honestly, I wanted to laugh.
The series could have been so much better. Up until episode 8, I kept fast forwarding most of the things. At one point there was an episode solely dedicated to the housekeeper Hannah Grose and OH MY GOD I was bored out of my mind! Bly Manor did take me on an emotional rollercoaster ride towards the end but not as much as Hill House. While I was happy that they included lesbianism in the series it still missed out on the element of horror and had a lot of drama instead. I guess Hill House has set the bar too high. At least for me.