Another haunting arises

Netflix releases a new successful horror series continuing their haunting series

Released on October 9, the new horror series became an instant hit amongst viewers of all ages.

Photo courtesy of What's On Netflix

Released on October 9, the new horror series became an instant hit amongst viewers of all ages.

Alexis Bahensky, Cartoonist

In October of 2018, Netflix released a new series titled “The Haunting of Hill House.” It was an instant hit, receiving a 93% on “Rotten Tomatoes.” Almost two years have passed since the hit show arrived, and Netflix thought it was time to continue the series. However, they didn’t just add more content to an already completed plot. They continued the story by holding onto its popularity, giving their audience a new series to binge during the Halloween season: “The Haunting of Bly Manor.”

(Warning: This series may contain visuals that are unappealing to some viewers including jump scares and gore. This article also contains spoilers.)

The new series follows Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti), who becomes the live-in governess, most commonly known as a nanny, of Bly Manor for two orphaned children: Miles Wingrave (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) and Flora Wingrave (Amelie Bea Smith). Although the series goes on to explain other characters’ experiences and backgrounds, the story wouldn’t have been told without Dani’s appearance at the Manor. The reason being she will mark the end of the manor’s haunting.

Bly Manor is located in the English countryside in the small town of Bly. Dani was hired by Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas), the children’s uncle, when she moved to England to escape personal trauma that happened in America. There she meets the housekeeper, Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller), cook, Owen Sharma (Rahul Kohli) and gardener Jamie (Amelia Eve). All are very welcoming, however, Flora continues to warn Dani about what dangers may occur during her stay at the manor. Thinking it is only her imagination, Dani puts Flora’s warnings aside as she has her own problems to worry about, such as the man she continues to see with the reflecting glasses.

As her stay at the manor continues, she notices the strange occurrences Flora informed her about on her first night. Muddy footprints line the hallways every morning while she continues to see a strange man around the manor. She goes to confront the children and others about her findings, however, they all informed her that it was nothing she needed to worry about. Later, she would find out everything they have been telling her were lies.

While most of the story is told from Dani’s perspective, the background of other characters are slowly revealed, with each episode containing a different backstory answering questions left behind by the one before. The audience is given information about those who lived in the Manor before, and those currently living or working there in the present. 

This series was created as a follow-up to “The Haunting of Hill House.” While the storylines are completely different and in no way connected, they are both loosely based on books. “Hill House” is based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel, and “Bly Manor” is based on Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw”. The novel was written in the 19th Century, only containing 12 pages of content. Although “Bly Manor” was based on the story, many changes had to be made to make it work in the present time and on-screen. The names of the characters, along with some of their characteristics and past history, are transferred to the on-screen series. However, much of the plot was changed, including who died and the purpose of the haunting presence. Doing this provided the audience with a more entertaining plot to fit modern standards.

The overall plot of the series was amazing. So much thought was put into the series to leave very few loopholes and questions at the end. However, the story was hard to follow from time-to-time, especially during the backstories. During Mrs. Grose’s story, it was unclear what was happening. It was going to and from certain scenes with no explanation for why this was happening, making it hard to understand and follow the plot of the specific episode. Later on the reason is revealed, but in the moment it leaves too many questions in a short period of time. 

I do applaud the series’ use of foreshadowing. As Dani continues to see the man with the reflexive glasses, the audience later learns that it foreshadowed the man’s cause of death, while also signifying how she blames herself for his passing. They continue by giving hints to Mrs. Grose’s death, stealthily implied by having her not eat or drink. While these may be very small details, such as showing a small aspect of the death of certain characters, they still add so much interest to the story. They also allow the audience to interact by thinking and inferring what or will happen in the story.

The series’ style of storytelling also adds to the interactiveness. Unlike most stories, told from beginning to end in the present, this one goes between the past, present and even the future. In the beginning, this may leave the reader confused as it leaves behind many unanswered questions. However, it makes the audience want to watch more and more because they want to know what is going to happen. This is the main aspect, along with the well-developed plot, that makes the show successful. 

The only downside to this method of storytelling is the questions left unanswered, such as why the man was “haunting” Dani. The audience can infer it was because she couldn’t forgive herself, but it is never explained why, or how she was able to get rid of him. It is also never explained how the children of the manor, Flora and Miles, forget about what had happened at the manor: if they either had just forgotten, or another paranormal event caused them to lose those memories.

Netflix’s “Haunting” series are both unforgettable and worth watching. The Haunting of Bly Manor takes first place over Hill House because of the method of storytelling. Another Haunting series is said to be in development and released during October in future years. Hopefully, this series continues the successful path both Hill House and Bly Manor have taken.