The Haunting of Bly Manor – Netflix TV Series Review

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I went into the show without realizing that it was created by the same folks who made The Haunting of Hill House – which, I mean, given the title should have been self evident. I’m always looking for creepy shows with a more melancholy and supernatural feel rather than something that relies heavily on gore and violence. I do believe I found that in this show, but it was slow even for me.

This is a story about two kids who’ve been orphaned… they live in a huge mansion out in the countryside and have a host of staff that take care of them and the house. You know, in the first episode my impression was that things were a little weird with both kids, they speak a little strange, they have odd mood changes, and the girl is obsessed with dolls that likely represent ghosts and what rooms they prefer in the mansion. Thee odd dialogue is purposeful and is not bad writing. I wasnt sure at first but glad I decided to keep going.

There’s something wrong with the new nanny, too. One of the main characters is an American woman who’s looking for a job in London and answers an ad she’s seen posted many times. She’s a teacher, not an au pair, but it’s good money and a live-in situation which could be good for her since she’s been living out of a hostel. She sees things in mirrors and has a terrible relationship with her mom and has no desire to “go home” back to the states but was running out of options. Again, at first I was a bit hesitant. The “seeing things in mirrors” bit has been done a thousand times, but I kept going because something about it made it feel like it would go in a different direction.

Each episode kind of centers around a different person and it creates a diverse cast that has quite a bit of depth … but it does take a long time for them all to be introduced and things to get started. I almost gave up when I hit episode 5 and the plot starts to pick up. There are a lot of unexplained things going on at the house, with the characters, and with flash backs but all of the threads start to come together in the 5th episode.

I thought the acting was pretty good, even the kids were decent, and I’m glad they didn’t age them up just to make it easier to cast. The way the kids spoke threw me off at first, but there’s an explanation, and as the series went on, I began to appreciate it more.

There’s a female/female romance in this one as well, which was nice to see, especially since this was set in 1987 when it was still largely a taboo.

The ending was well done, I really loved the last couple episodes, particularly when we got to the backstory of all the ghosts in the manor, why they are there, and why they can’t leave. It was haunting in a morbid way and not a scary way, and I love when those two mix. There were characters who died along the way, so you were never sure who was going to make it out alive.

I felt like this was a slow burn that had moments where it was tense and creepy as fuck. I would have liked a bit more creepy and a bit less slow… 5 hours is a long time to commit to a total of 9 hours of a series – but it’s still worth the time and I’m glad I watched.

My rating: 7.5/10