I… I didn’t watch any movies last week! Oops!
But that’s because I was spending my free time doing other spooky things, like playing spooky video games, or watching other people play spooky video games, or watching a spooky new Netflix series called…
~ The Haunting of Bly Manor ~
I could just cheat the system and not write anything this week, but why not at least put up a short post about this series that surprised me in several very good ways? The first, and I’m going to spoil everything right off the top, is that I really liked it. Like, I would be okay watching the whole thing again basically right away, under the right circumstances. I can’t say that about all that many TV shows.
Another one that comes to mind though, is The Haunting on Hill House. Which is a Netflix series that came out last Halloween, and is the predecessor to Bly Manor, because apparently “The Haunting of…” is going to be an anthology series now. It’s a little like American Horror Story, even, because about half of the actors from Hill House carried over to Bly Manor. I had no idea about any of this when Bly Manor was first released, and was happy to pass on the series. But then I heard about the connection, and I really liked Hill House, so it just seemed natural to check out the next entry.
The Haunting of Bly Manor, is, like Hill House before it, based on a novel. The difference is that this time it’s a novel I’ve actually heard of: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I’ve never read it, and in fact I didn’t even know it was a ghost story, but I’ve heard of it! And I really want to read it now!
The setup for this one is that an American lady trying to run away from a troubled past travels to England to get a nanny job in a creepy old mansion… Stop me if this sounds familiar. She does get put in charge of real children though; a young boy and his little sister. Both are a touch on the weird side, and maybe a little bit annoying at first. I have to admit though, that after a few episodes I really took a liking to little Flora. She’s just so darned cute!
There are other characters, as well. Obviously. An absent-minded housekeeper, a fabulously mustachioed cook, a tomboy gardener, and an absentee uncle. Oh, and also a whole host of spooks and spirits. Despite the fact that the show is set in a very haunted mansion, only the first episode comes anywhere close to scary. After that, it’s basically just character drama with a somewhat creepy atmosphere. There are still ghosts, mind you, but most of them are fully-realized characters, and almost never do anything scary. In fact, the scariest one is basically exorcised less than halfway through the series.
Despite my disappointment at the lack of spookiness, I still really enjoyed The Haunting of Bly Manor. The characters are great and the plot is compelling, which resulted in me getting hooked on it very quickly. I don’t really have any idea if Bly Manor is a shot-for-shot remake of The Turn of the Screw or not, but I would imagine that a lot what makes it so good is that it’s based on classic literature. It certainly couldn’t hurt that they started with a solid base. I don’t think that Bly Manor is quite as good as Hill House, but the fact that the story is told in a much more linear fashion makes it a lot easier to understand, if nothing else. It’s a very good second entry in this anthology, and I’m stoked for a third series next Halloween.
Dani’s 80’s jeans drive me absolutely bonkers though. Euuuuugggghh.