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  • Writer's pictureHannah Pearson

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Reasons why Haunting of Bly Manor was more Cringey than Creepy



RANT


Spoilers For: Most of the show


Source: IMDB

If you loved the series Haunting of Hill House then you were probably anxiously awaiting the follow-up Haunting of Bly Manor that came out on Netflix this October. Hill House was a chilling saga that followed one family, the Cranes, as they experience paranormal activity in an old east coast house they lived in briefly. The show splits the storytelling between two timelines and follows mainly the siblings of the family. Hill House was a huge hit for Netflix, receiving a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 79 out of 100 Metacritic Score. It even pulled favor with horror legend, Stephen King, and storytelling king, Quentin Tarantino.


Bly Manor, which is not a sequel to the Cranes and Hill House, but instead a brand new story with a brand new house. Some of the same actors but with completely different roles (and accents!) similar to the American Horror Story format. Would Bly be able to duplicate the perfect crescendo into madness and terror like Hill House? Would it give us complex, dynamic characters that we root for? Would it give us twists and turns we never saw coming?


The answer: mostly no.


Here are all the ways Haunting of Bly Manor failed to deliver the fright.



Pacing


The show is a slog for the first four episodes. We meet Dani and the kids but nothing really happens. We see a creepy wet lady sauntering about at night like a grandma with dementia but the threat of her seems so minor. The show doesn’t start to move until episode 5 when we find out the caretaker's, Hannah Gross, surprising fate. Then it kind of drops off again until episode eight, with the backstory to creepy dementia grandma. There was no build-up. It was all over the map and at times it was slow, boring, and had viewers reaching for their phones to scroll until something finally happened.


Acting


Specifically, I’m talking about accents. Victoria Pedretti and Henry Thomas shine as bright as they did in HH and even held up their fake accents better than expected, but Carla Gugino’s was all over the map in her voice-overs. She goes from having a Scottish accent to a British one in the voice-overs and present-day scenes and while that might help the “big reveal” at the end, it seems like a plot hole. And the kids have lost their accents completely!?


Constant Monologues


Shows like this are known for long monologues that usually reveal juicy information about characters or plot. There are plenty in Bly Manor but most of them revealed the same information. Everybody has a sad backstory. Peter, Jaime, Owen, Hannah, Henry, and Dani. I get it, it’s part of the brand, but by the time it was Jaime’s turn for a tearjerker in woods, the wells were dry.



Twists were Predictable


Miles’s odd behavior is blatantly obvious the moment he caresses Dani’s face. Hannah’s death is flagged the moment she declines food for the second time. And Perdita being a traitor is called so fast that giving a whole episode to it seemed pointless. The people at the present day wedding being related to the story was just given. There was no Bent-Neck Lady or window moment reveal like HH. Only how Hannah dies left some jaws slightly ajar, but not dropped.



It Just wasn’t Scary


Only the Lady in the Lake had both the supernatural and malevolent combination. Sure Ghost Peter and Rebecca brought some ruckus for dear Dani and the children, but neither of them kept anyone up with nightmares. The other ghosts in the house, the doctor, the vicar, the child, and sister dearest, all seem to pose no threat. They just chill in the background. Dani’s fiancé was pretty chilling but that narrative just drops off. The show was tame. And some would argue that Jaime’s final words about it being a love story is suppose to explain the mild spice, but people bought tickets for a ghost story. So ya know, make it a ghost story.




Haunting of Bly Manor wasn’t all unsatisfactory. The coupling of Hannah and Owen, and Dani and Jaime, was charming and one of the few working wheels that moved the vehicle forward. The concept of hell is a time loop of all your memories seems like an agonizing way to spend eternity. And Henry Thomas once again proves that he still hasn’t peaked yet in the acting world. But for the most part, the show was just simply blah.


Rating: 2/5 Tentacles.


What did you think of Haunting of Bly Manor? Blah or Nah?






image source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10970552/?ref_=tt_mv_close




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