The Newest Haunting: The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor poster. Photo courtesy of IMDb

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Amanda Wampler '24, Staff Writer

This is a spoiler free review. 

On October 9th, The Haunting anthology returned for its second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor. This new season introduces new characters, a new family unit, and a new haunted house to explore. Unlike its predecessor, Bly Manor investigates grief, shame, denial, and loss and how these feelings haunt the people living in Bly.  

To preface this review, it is important to go into this new season with an open mind. Though it is considered a sequel to Hill House, the two seasons are extremely different. Hill House was an intense, frightening exploration of a violently haunted house and how that shattered a family unit. Bly Manor, on the other hand, was more ominous and suspenseful, with massive twists and turns, and a focus on people from different walks of life coming together and creating a family unit. 

The story opens up with the narrator (Carla Gugino) at a rehearsal dinner for an unknown couples wedding. There, she begins to tell a ghost story- the story of Bly Manor. At this point, viewers do not know the identity of this narrator, but her identity is revealed at the end. The story opens with Dani (Victoria Pedretti), an American girl living in London applying for an au pair job to two young kids at Bly Manor. The kids, Flora and Miles (played by Amelia Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth respectively), are the niece and nephew of Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas), who is now their primary caretaker. It is revealed that both of their parents and their previous au pair, Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif), died.  

Once Dani gets the job at Bly, she meets Owen (Rahul Kohli), the chef, Hannah Grose (T’Nia Miller), the house’s caretaker, and Jamie (Amelia Eve), the gardener. Those three together are the main adults in the children’s lives, because Henry Wingrave is not very present. Throughout the course of the season, it is shown that something is wrong with the kids, something is wrong with Hannah Grose, and something is wrong with the house. The first few episodes leave viewers totally awestruck and confused as more questions are raised. It is not until episode five when things begin to fit into their places and questions are answered. 

The main aspect that made me fall fully in love with this season was its mindfulness. When watching the show for a second time, I realized all the clues they gave viewers that led to a clear path to the finale. There were intricate details laced throughout the show that just made the shocking twist in episode five that more heart racing, and the tragic ending in the finale that more heartbreaking. The love story between Dani and Jamie not only brought a great representation of a lesbian relationship to the screen, but it was also just so real and stunning.  

This show fully surpassed my expectations. The beautiful mix between a harrowing love story and an eerie ghost story absorbed viewers into the world of Bly, just like the house did to the people who lived there. The Haunting of Bly Manor easily surpassed its forerunner, The Haunting of Hill House for me, and I would highly recommend this to everyone.