Creator – Mike Flanagan (Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House)
Starring – Victoria Pedretti (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Amazing Stories), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man, Dracula), and Amelia Eve (The Darkness, Shadowland)
Release Date – 2020
Rating – 3.5/5
A year or so ago I was sent over the blu release of The Haunting of Hill House. I had heard of the show when it was released on Netflix but I never took the time to watch it until I received that copy for review. Sadly, I didn’t care for the mini-series and when the news broke the director and producer Mike Flanagan announced another mini-series The Haunting Bly Manor adapted once again from the works of Henry James. I wasn’t interested in checking out this new mini-series even though it wasn’t connected to Hill House but once the blu release arrived for review I figured I had to now. I’m glad I did because I actually liked it. It was a lot of fun and highly entertaining.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows an American nanny who is hired to take care of two children by their uncle after the unexpected deaths of their parents. However, she is not the first person hired to tend to the children. An Au Pair was previously hired and soon after took her own life. Now the nanny is left to uncover the secrets hiding behind the walls of Bly Manor while battling her own demons. **Spoiler Alert**
I was hesitant when I put this in and hit play but after an episode or so I found myself becoming more and more invested with the characters and the story. It’s not perfect and the flashbacks mixed with confusing dialogue does make it a chore to finish but I rather enjoyed it.
The acting in this one is great and the cast is fantastic but the characters are extremely cliched and generic. I’ve watched dozens and dozens of paranormal period pieces over the years and the characters in this one are generic. The cast does the best with what they are given but the characters nor their performances are memorable. The story for this one is a gothic romance with supernatural and crime elements. It’s not really a horror series per-se but there is some darker moments that were fun. However, the characters may be generic but their interactions and backstory were the highlight of the show. I wish a little more time was spent on character personality because it would have made the film even more enjoyable.
Finally, don’t expect a bloody series. We get some visual effects that look solid and some great make-up effects but that is the extent of it. Overall, The Haunting Bly Manor is a well put together mini-series that isn’t really horror in a traditional sense but I really liked it. The characters are rather cliched and blend into the background but the story around them is worth your time. I highly recommend it.