Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor Review
A couple of days back, I finished watching Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” created by Mike Flanagan. The characters and the series’s name resembles Flanagan’s previously much-appreciated horror series “The Haunting of Hill House.”
But if you finish watching the ‘Bly Manor,’ you will understand how different it is from its predecessor.
Netflix’s “The Hunting of Bly Manor” has nine episodes. The series begins with a narrative that tells the story of the characters of the Bly Manor. At first glance, it occurs to me that the new season has some similarities, but no.
Flanagan’s “Bly Manor” is a layered, sedative narrative with depth in the story as the episodes are moving forward. Unlike his other works, I felt “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is experimental, and he has put together the story pieces with great precision.
Although got released during the month of Halloween, the series has wrapped the audience’s mind with the perception that they will watch a ghost story or horror story.
To understand “Bly Manor,” you have to understand each character’s story and their psychology.
The show greatly focuses on Dani, played by Victoria Pedretti, and the other characters are revolves around her. She is an American but living in England and is looking for a job.
She found an advertisement of a huge countryside manor where an au pair is required and responsible for taking care of two orphaned kids.
During the interview, the questionnaire exchanged between Dani and uncle Henry gave us a hint that there is something fishy about the manor and Dani herself.
Dani indeed has a traumatic past that haunts her that we are still unknown of. She took up the job as an au pair. She introduced herself to the siblings’ Flora (Amelie Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), the cook Owen (Rahul Kohli), the housekeeper Hannah (T’Nia Miller), and the resident gardener Jamie.
From here, the story begins. The creepy thing that I found about the Bly Manor is its vastness. The manor is old and has so many stories to be told. Even in the “The Haunting of the Hill House,” it was the house that haunted the siblings’ memories.
Dani is welcomed and loved by the members of the manor. Rahul Kohli has played Owen with full grace. He has an aura that brings out positive emotion through his food and in his kitchen.
The kitchen is the only happy place in the manor where morning feels fresh because of Owen.
Hannah is a layered character in the season. Her involvement with the story changes with each episode passing by.
Young Jamie, the gardener, is the surprise package. Her character is grown completely when her presence in Dani’s life became important. In the last episode, her and Dani’s relationship entirely changed the theme of the series.
Is there any ghost? Is the house haunted at all?
Yes, ghosts in the manor and the manor are haunted, but Flanagan didn’t give much importance in showing the scary faces or jump scares to its audience.
He focused on the story of the characters and their psychology. Flanagan has dedicated an entire episode to why the Bly Manor is haunted.
A story took place decades ago in the manor where an ailing mother, Voila’s love and desire to see her child pushes her into a non-existence dream hopping psyche.
She kills people in the manor over the ages, and their ghost gets trapped in the manor forever.
Bly Manor isn’t quite straightforward if you notice; all the characters are trapped in their emotions of guilt, pain, and love.
Dani is haunted by her traumatic past because she feels guilty about her fiancé’s death. But once Jamie helped her in letting go of her feelings, she no longer gets haunted by the image of her fiancé.
Uncle Henry hallucinates his doppelganger, a monster, because guilt is trapped in his heart and soul.
He thinks of himself as the monster who killed Flora and Miles’s parents, is responsible for cheating on his brother, and is struck in pain for losing his love.
Likewise, little Flora sees Rebecca because she is the first to witness her dead body floating in the lake. She dreams hop to her past, imagining she is with her mother.
Miles is a sweet little boy who is also creepy sometimes. He is alone, friendless; the feeling of isolation, anger, and loneliness never leaves him. The soul of dead Peter Quint touches him because Peter, too, shares a similar pain.
So, my interpretation of “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is different. I think Flanagan has focuses more on the complexities of human emotions how each character’s psychology is linked deeply with their emotions.
Flanagan’s “Bly Manor” is not a horror story but indeed a love story. That Flanagan revealed at the last episode, where the older Jamie finishes her narration and grown-up, Flora says, “I like your story. But I think you set it up wrong. You said it was a ghost story. It isn’t. It’s a love story.”
“Bly Manor” becomes a love story when Dani sacrifices her life to save Jamie. Viola’s spirit rests in the lake of the Bly Manor. When Viola took Flora with her into the lake, Dani invited Viola into her body to save Flora from drowning.
By doing so, she releases all the trapped ghosts from the Bly Manor. After Jamie and she moved out of the Bly Manor to start a new life. After years of a peaceful and happy life, Dani started visioning Viola. She knew her time is coming closer, but Jamie, with all her heart and love, tried to reason with her.
After Dani almost strangle Jamie one night, she returns to Bly Manor and submits herself into the lake.
The ending justifies “The Haunting of Bly Manor” more of a painful love story than a horror story.
What did I like the Most About the Series?
I thoroughly enjoyed the British accent. Especially the conversation between Hannah and Owen. The warmth they share in their relationship is worth watching and listening to.
“Bly Manor” has a few mysteries that unlayered with a given time. It shows two-dimensional periods, but also the real world and the memories. Some scenes get difficult to figure out as they juggle so frequently between the memories and the reality.
Indeed, the series lacks the terror, but it tells a satisfying yet beautiful story about love, emotions, and relationships.