Netflix’s satisfyingly scary ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’

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Photo Courtesy of TVLine

Flora hides in the attic at Bly Manor with a ghostly presence. Amelie Bae Smith plays Flora in Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor.”

Bridget Janis, Staff Reporter

With October being the spookiest ghost story time of the year, Netflix has released “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” The nine episode mini series is a perfect fit for the month of Halloween. 

The series creator Mike Flanagan also created 2018’s “The Haunting of Hill House.”

As a huge horror fan, any ghost story or creepy movies is worth a watch. “Hill House” was attention grabbing, unique and had a great story. It is a must see on Netflix. 

When starting “Bly Manor” it was held to a high standard because “Hill House” was so good, and it did not disappoint. While a lot of things don’t add up until the end, the series still kept me on the edge of my seat while piecing the story together. 

Victoria Pedretti stars as the main character, Danielle “Dani” Clayton. Clayton is a young American that was hired as a nanny for two orphaned children, Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth). 

Pedretti is also appeared in “The Haunting of Hill House,” where she played Eleanor “Nell” Crain.

A couple other cast members from “The Haunting of Hill House” that appear in “The Haunting of Bly Manor” are Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas and Carla Gugino

This horror series focuses less on the jump scares and more on the build up of suspenseful horror. Though there are some jump scare scenes surrounding Dani’s ex-fiancé Edmund (Roby Attal). He pops up in reflections, haunting Dani with his bright glowing eyes.

The first half of the series focuses on the development of Dani, her background and how she is building a connection with the kids. Other key character developments include Chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). 

There is this idea in the series that a fear within Bly Manor keeps everyone there. At least that appears to be the case for the Lady in the Lake Viola (Kate Siegel), a character that seems to be haunting the lake and dragging people there to meet their doom. 

It’s not just Viola doing the haunting though. There are other ghosts throughout the story too. To the point that it might be hard to keep straight who are ghosts and who are actually alive. 

Even if you can’t keep it all straight, don’t worry because everything will make sense in the end. The show did a great job developing the backstory. For example, episode eight specifically was dedicated to explaining the historic background.

Throughout the series there are flashbacks to the kids’ old nanny, Miss Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohe). The past always overlaps the present in this series.

During the last episode, roller coasters of emotions come out. It was so intense that I almost shed a tear while watching it. 

Dani ends up falling in love and leaving. She thinks everything is going to be okay, that she’ll have a couple years in love, but her past at Bly Manor might just be playing tricks on her.

While it’s true that nothing in this series was as disturbing as the bent-neck lady from “Hill House,” the feel of this ghost story definitely had more emotion behind it. There was a deeper emotional connection there for the audience, and it ended up being more than just a ghost story. 

With the last episode being such a shock, Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is a must-see for Halloween. As Flora would say, it was “perfectly splendid.”

4/5 stars