Netflix recently premiered its new original series, “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” on Oct. 9, and it is as brilliant as its predecessor “The Haunting of Hill House,” in that it illustrates incredible scenery and a complex but compelling plot played by extremely talented actors.
The plot, loosely adapted from Henry James’s 1898 horror novella “The Turn of the Screw,” takes place in 1987 and follows Dani Clayton, a teacher from America, who takes a job as a nanny caring for orphans, Flora and Miles, at Bly Manor in England. As time goes on, she is led to believe that the manor is haunted.
The new series should not be classified under the general horror genre and should instead be under the gothic romance genre. Drifting away from the traditional ghost stories, the film instead boasts its tragic love story with suspenseful elements.
The show stars many cast members from its previous “Hill House” series like Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Peter Quint, Carla Gugino as the storyteller and Henry Thomas as Henry Wingrave.
Though it was odd seeing the old cast members play their new roles, as I kept associating them with their previous characters, they all mastered their new characteristics, especially Pedretti who was exceptional in portraying her emotions.
The series also welcomed new faces like Amelia Eve as Jamie, Rahul Kohli as Owen Sharm, Tahirah Sharif as Rebecca Jessel, T’Nia Miller as Hannah Grose, Amelie Bea Smith as Flora Wingrave and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Miles Wingrave. The new cast members played their parts beautifully and brought out the essence of their characters.
Nonetheless, the best acting is delivered by T’Nia Miller because her character is so complex, yet she flawlessly adapts to her role with rich emotions.
The cinematography was well thought out and helped elaborate on the story. The set design was classic yet staggering and well-fitting to the time and location. The brick manor itself was beautifully constructed with vines all over the front and windows.
Additionally, the costumes and special effects makeup are impeccable. The costumes used for the scenes during the 17th century are gorgeous and perfectly match the era. The special effects used for the ghosts and graphic scenes were scary good and frightened me, which shows that they did an outstanding job bringing the dead to life.
“The Haunting of Hill House” was such a popular Netflix series, which is why my expectations for this series were already high. Before even beginning the series, the trailer exhibited an eerie and promising mood. I assumed it was going to be just as spine-tingling as the first series, but I was pleasantly mistaken.
To fully enjoy the show, you must forget about “The Haunting of Hill House” before going in. While many cast members from the first series came back, it is not a continuation and should not be held to the same standards. While “Hill House” was simply a tragic ghost story, the “Bly Manor” series is a tragic love story. Regardless of the differences, both are executed well.
The only critique is the slow pace at the beginning of the show, but around the middle of the series it really picks up and all the mysteries unravel. This is the kind of story that you have to pay attention to the details to understand what is going on because it does get complicated when the story jumps back and forth among the past, present and future.
Overall, as a gothic romance, it is a heartbreaking masterpiece. This is the perfect series for students looking for something creepy and suspenseful during the Halloween season.