An American school teacher in England is looking for a fresh start when she sees an ad in the newspaper for a live-in position as an au pair on a gorgeous countryside property. There must be a catch.
The Haunting of Bly Manor follows twenty-something Danielle Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) , as she navigates her new job and learns to deal with her (literal) ghosts. After the tragic death of their parents, followed by the drowning of their au pair, Dani is hired to care for young Miles and Flora Windgrave.
Running from her own past, she is willing to look past some unusual circumstances surrounding her hire, such as the fact that the job has been listed for the last six months. What she finds when she arrives however, is more terrifying than anything so could have been running from.
The show has hints of ghosts, demons and deception from the very beginning. Yet, the show can be quite complex at times, and trying to figure out what is truly going on occupied my mind enough to the point where I wasn’t truly scared. Is the show unnerving and interesting? Yes. But scary, as in literally screaming? No.
While the first half of the season focuses mainly on Dani, in the second half delves further into other characters. Ms. Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and the villainous Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Choen) and how their actions a year prior and how they are affecting Dani’s current situation. The caretaker Hannah Grose and her relationship with the manor.
My personal favorite character is Owen (Rahul Kohli), the chef. Just when the horror gets to be too much, he comes in and makes a pun about soup, and I’m ready to continue with the haunting.
Each episode had me wanting more information to unravel the mystery. The whole time I was coming up with my own theories, wanting to solve the puzzle before I was shown the solution. And yet, despite my deep inquiries, nothing came close to the truth.
This show had some familiar faces. Victoria Pedretti, who plays Dani, can be seen in numerous other Netflix shows. The most popular of which is “You,” where she stars in the second season alongside Penn Badgley. Henry Tohmas may be recognized from the hit eighties film, “E.T., the Extra Terrestrial.” The rest of the cast, was new to me.
The creator, Mike Flanagan is not new to the horror genre. Flanagan wrote and directed “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” which was released in 2016 and grossed over 81 million worldwide. In 2018, Flanagan created, directed, produced, edited, and wrote the Netflix supernatural horror series “The Haunting of Hill House.” Bly Manor, is a stand alone sequel to Hill House.
These two shows share a naming format, creative team, and much of the cast. Despite these similarities, they are two completely separate stories, you don’t need to see one to understand the other.
Like much of the horror genre, the music that is present in the series helps to set the mood. There isn’t much that stands out to me within the score. However, the narration of the story adds to the mystery. It constantly feels like the narrator knows more than you. It was like being handed pieces and I wanted to put together the puzzle before I was shown the solution.
With creepy children, a mysterious housekeeper and a punny chef, this show truly has everything needed.