‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ falls eerily flat

The second instalment in Netflix’s popular ‘Haunting’ anthology can’t hold a spooky candle to its predecessor

Season two of the horror series falls flat.

You know those people who re-watch their favourite show or movie over and over again? I’m one of those people, and I was The Haunting of Hill House’s biggest fan. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for its sequel in Netflix’s popular horror anthology The Haunting of Bly Manor—just one viewing was enough.

I watched The Haunting of Hill House a whopping four times. I was absolutely obsessed with the series: the show was, from start to finish, impeccable. It was the perfect horror story—it not only startled me with a satisfying number of scares throughout the episodes, but also provided me with a cathartic ending that tied all of the story’s loose ends into a neat little bow.

It’s then no surprise that I had high expectations for The Haunting of Bly Manor. Despite being in the thick of midterms, I carved out time this past weekend to watch all 10 episodes of the Haunting anthology’s highly anticipated second instalment. After I finished binging the show, I was left with a dissatisfying mixture of emotions and a sense of disappointment.

The horror aspect of the show was substantially dialled down from its first season—so much so that I’d barely deem it a thriller. I was looking forward to feeling spooked, especially since it’s almost Halloween, but found myself far more confused than scared. I was constantly pulled out of the narrative, and it felt as if I was asking myself, “what is going on?” every five minutes.

The most jarring aspect of the latest instalment is that, while the story is new and completely separate from the previous season’s, the show features many of the same actors of The Haunting of Hill House in unfamiliar roles. Unlike the techniques used in American Horror Story, which similarly recasts the same actors in new roles each season, The Haunting of Bly Manor failed to clearly inform viewers that there was a switch to a new creepy story from the one featured in The Haunting of Hill House.

After I managed to figure out that this new story is unrelated to the prior season’s, I was thrown into a complex plotline that remained, for the most part, unexplained until the second-last episode. One of the reasons I was so impressed with the first season of the horror show was the rich backstory given to each of the characters. It gave them depth, and it made their development all the more rewarding. The Haunting of Bly Manor’s characters didn’t have the same substance, and the story lacked the same cohesion because of it.

Although viewers were given a backstory to Bly Manor’s haunting, it was unnecessarily elaborate, forced on viewers with so much repetition it was frustrating to watch. Without spoiling the season’s ending, the last episode was a failed attempt to follow in The Haunting of Hill House’s footsteps It felt predictable instead of moving, a disappointing conclusion to the story that left a dedicated viewer like myself wondering if I’ll be as earnest to watch potential future seasons as I was this one.

I know I won’t be re-watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, but likely returning to the first season for a fifth round of perfectly balanced horror and entertainment—something that was lacking in every episode of this latest instalment.



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