Today I am going to be sharing with you a full, spoiler-free review of The Haunting of Bly Manor which premiered on Netflix October 9th. This story is based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I have been looking forward to it for nearly two years now, so needless to say, I had high hopes. Without further ado, let’s get into all of my thoughts…
This story follows a young governess (Dani) hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises and the children appear to be in communication with said spirits. As we delve deeper into the story, we realise that not all is as it seems. There is a much darker force controlling Bly Manor…
So far, this show has been getting very mixed reviews. Understandably, it is being compared to The Haunting of Hill House. If I’m comparing the two, I prefer Hill House and found it much scarier. However, it’s important to note these seasons are very separate from one another. They are set in different time periods and locations. Before Bly Manor aired, there were plenty of articles deeming it to be creepier than Hill House. I don’t agree. I felt disturbed once or twice but not as much as I thought I would be. This show is not so much one giant ghost story but a love story. It reinforces the themes of love and possession over and over; demonstrating how sometimes, those two things travel on blurred lines. We witness this in romantic and familial relationships. Each episode shines more light on the plot points that are initially confusing. For this reason, I recommend re-watching it so you can focus more on what you missed the first time around.
In my opinion, certain episodes stood out among the others. My favourites were #1, 3, 5, 7 & 8. I also appreciated the Sapphic romance representation that developed throughout the story. The children, Flora and Miles were the most interesting. It takes a bit of time to understand where their allegiances lie and how much they truly know about Bly Manor. I was captivated whenever they were on screen. My main critique of this show was that it was a bit too ambitious. There were a lot of plot lines and interweaving stories to follow. In the finale, things were wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking. It was also unnecessarily confusing. I was hoping various characters would be mentioned but they weren’t featured. I was also underwhelmed by the lack of scares. The first episode promised so much but it slowly waned. I wanted more of the ghosts!
No matter what you take from this review, I still highly recommend watching it. It’s beautifully filmed and very interesting. It’s also heartbreaking. Prepare to feel all the feels! I can’t give anymore away without spoiling things, so I’ll leave it there.
I hope you enjoyed this spoiler-free review. What did you think? Have you seen it yet? Do you plan on watching it? Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo