Netflix’s Bly Manor’s Haunting is a fantasy narrative and a love story, and as a critical character notes in the climax, those two kinds can be exactly the same. The narrative of the rich Wingrave family and its employees who occupy a farm that is full of the spirits of the people who had died on the property is told in Bly Manor. In contrast to the earlier haunting series by writer and director Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Hill House, which even in its last episode left many of the supernatural elements in the air, Bly Manor on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw showed quite well how all the talk has gone down.
If you have not yet given the series a watch and have been considering whether or not to give it a shot, then here is an honest review of the series that might help you make up your mind.
In the eighth episode, we are told about Bly’s most deadly spirit, the mystery of the Lady at Lake (however a more detailed look at the scenes will show the other ghosts and the lady in the lake in the backdrop of scenes all through the show). She was an aristocratic woman from the 18th century whose name was Viola, who before getting ill had got married and had a daughter. Viola was taken care of throughout her convalescence by her sister, Perdita, who assumed her part in the home lady — making Viola pretty envious. Sick with her caregiver’s job one day, Perdita suffocated her sickly sister into death and loved the appearance of Viola‘s husband. Viola’s vengeful fantasy came back to kill his sister and ever since has plagued Bly.
At the end of the finale, like she had assassinated Peter Quint, Perdita, and others, Viola‘s spirit is on the point of killing Governor Dani, but it is diverted by little Flora. She takes Flora up and drags her into the water by mistaking her long-dead daughter. But Dani begs the soul of Viola to inhabit her body before she drowns. This property breaks Viola’s enchantment and all of Bly’s spirits, including Quint, Hannah Grose, and Miss Jessel, vanish.
However, the story does not end with Flora’s rescue. There are more twists and turns till the very last minute of the series that enhance the thrill as well as the emotions contained in the story.
Read More: Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
Bly Manor’s Haunting is definitely a sibling to The Haunting of Hill House narrative, although it is considerably more creative, less frightening, and with a bit more heart than its sister series. A commentary on the human psyche and the drama of Henry James’s novel “The Turn of the Screw.” Contrary to its predecessor, the new Netflix series certainly makes the spectator feel more melancholic than frightened.
As at the Hill House, Bly Manor is the fabled castle written in memory, and here the ghosts are based in brain terror. The pain caused by the spectrum of Hill House is far more spooky and disruptive, yet the drama of the human race is won by Bly Manor. Amazing tiny nodes about sexuality and gender, which one would not anticipate in a horror series, are presented without pretentiousness. Monologues melt in poetry, and a kiss concealed by flowers, nearly like Bollywood, is only really successful in expressing something lovely and delicate.
The season, which covers 9 episodes, establishes a universe that is more believable because of the design and the atmosphere that the ensemble puts together. The true haunting is on the expressions of the characters, which you might have seen in Hill House too, but suddenly come off as completely new. Every frame Victoria Pedretti takes, playing the protagonist. There’s a sad aspect to her face, and she listens to the experiences of others without saying words at many times, but her emotions find expression in her eyes. The cast that supports Pedretti, the cast of gardener, housekeeper, cook, and the children, carries the performance as much as the protagonist.
The narrative invites you with the contrasting lulls of youngsters who speak in rushing adult languages and then with a pleasant and cozy home. It lists the inner life of the people so that the fantasies are actually confined to the background. They do not often appear; the show is focused on the original storylines. These are not necessarily new, however, they are pleasant, to the point of the execution of the show. There is, though, a whole episode dedicated to the manor’s malicious spirit that spans the narrative speed, set in a different century.
There is also a narrative voice intervening effectively. It’s lyrical, yet one wonders whether the moments would have been crisper and more real if nobody had have explained anything. The tale feels more like a narration that lacks dynamics at times, making it one of the weakest elements of the plot. It is what makes the turns of events quite unmysterious.
But the theme is the real hero of The Haunting of Bly Manor. While Hill House had shown that we are the ones who haunt us, Bly Manor shows that our past and past loves and people we cared about all have the power to haunt us if not dealt with properly and bravely. The overwhelming fantasy is the memories that characters occasionally live in and recall. The series all takes a look at the aftermath, manifested in an everlasting purgatory, the torture that relieves unpleasant memories.
Memories haunt people and dream-hop people like ghosts across time. There are blurred borders between a ghost and an ancient figure. Both degrade into a literal faciality with time, and yet haunting goes on.
And every spirit is distinctive, like their recollections, some tranquil, some wrathful, and some who were prey to such vengeance-seeking spirits, holding their loving hand on the beloved sleeping shoulder. The fantastic Bly Manor captures the past as a house in which one lives, and only oblivion allows rest. Maybe this is why Bly’s name cannot be discovered in any actual location.
The stories of love are the highest moments in the series, so delicate that your heart is warm and distressing. The makers of the program in the narrator’s voice acknowledge that the narrative of the love was like a ghost story; in the final montage, there is the character who leaves the door open to light in hopes of a lost lover, since “dead” does not mean lost. The story is the same as that of a lost lover.
In the end, Bly Manor’s haunting is only as haunting as our everyday lives are; its ghosts, our past. Watch this one if you want, and you may discover a lot worth remembering for its human people rather than their ghosts.