The Haunting of Bly Manor Review: Not the Usual Horror Show

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Mackenzie Bernas, Co-editor

By Mackenzie Bernas

Mike Flanagan starts off the beginning of the spooky season with his next installment of the Haunting series on Netflix: The Haunting of Bly Manor. Straying from the usual cliché scare tactics of the horror genre, this show lays out hints to the supernatural like scattered glass shards of a broken mosaic. The horrifyingly haunting paranormal activity inside the manor takes a backseat to the meandering path of the show’s plot. The audience is left with the eeriness of each lingering frame and character irregularities that clue to some hidden secret. In the 1980’s English countryside, the viewers are forced to clench their fists in waiting for Victoria Pedretti to pop her cloud of ignorance about the apparent mysteries of the manor.

The audience is immediately made aware that this is going to be a ghost story narrated by Carla Gugino to a soon-to-be-married couple. The ghost story follows the events surrounding a young American au pair named Danielle—nicknamed Dani—and her task of caring for two orphans: Miles and Flora. The viewers can sense something is ‘off’ about the manor right from the start. First of all, the recently orphaned children living in Bly Manor have an air of intelligence unbefitting for their ages–especially when it concerns the house. Both children give off warning signs of the unnatural nature of the manor: Flora likes to play with dolls resembling real people, and Miles can switch from sounding like a 10 year old to an adult in seconds. If the inevitable appearance of apparitions isn’t obvious from the title of the show, viewers can catch glimpses of their silhouettes in the very first episode.

The series is more likely to inspire chills down the spine than jumping and screaming. Instead of tensing for a gasp, viewers can enjoy this show’s combination of grief, ghosts, and gothic romance. The Haunting of Bly Manor explores the concepts of love and loss as the history of each character’s experience with both terms is revealed more with each passing episode. This series is perfect for viewers looking for a horror show to binge on Halloween without the jumpscares, gore, and thoughtless main characters that pop into one’s head at the mention of the infamous genre.