The Haunting of Bly Manor. Review.

Mike Flanagan’s take on The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best individual seasons of the streaming era regardless of platform. The ending wasn’t everything it should have been but the journey combined emotionally impactful interpersonal drama, superbly atmospheric direction and several breakout performances from the large ensemble cast. Thankfully the season was a big hit with critics and audience so now comes the follow up that conceptually (although critically not tonally)is d is probably most comparable to the relationship various seasons of American Horror Story have with each other. There is some returning cost (Victoria Pedrotti and Oliver Jackson Cohen) similar thematic ideas and structure but this can be watched regardless of whether the viewer has seen Hill House beforehand. Even with Flanigan not directing in full this time around expectations (from this critics perspective )was still incredibly high. What did this follow up to one of the best TV seasons in recent memory deliver?
The best way to describe how this critic feels about Bly Mannor is to say that it’s a sequel to something that established a strong core foundation with the original outing. This is mostly kept intact for the second effort. The direction it’s still incredibly atmospheric, characters solidly defined and narrative mostly engaging throughout. There isn’t a great deal to complain about beyond saying that it fails to hit the insane high points of its predecessor. This is mainly due to the interpersonal drama not being as emotionally impactful and engrossing this time around. Several episodes spend most of their time focusing on a single character with a certain amount of overlap in the main narrative but the running time is not used as economically and effectively within the sequel to establish an overall tapestry centred around the main narrative (something Hill House did brilliantly.) The performances from newcomers and returning cast are solid throughout but this is something of a step down from the first season who’s ensemble cast had several award-worthy performances.
The one element notably improved upon with the sequel is the ending with the final episode largely serving as an extended epilogue for two characters. This feels more tonally consistent with the episodes that came beforehand. However, the fact this season isn’t nearly as emotionally engrossing as Hill House means that well the sequels ending might be more effective on its terms the journey to get there was substantially superior in the original article.
In a world where Emily in Paris is a big Netflix hit (article on that coming sooner rather than later) on one level, it should be appreciated that Bly Manor it’s a solid follow up to Hill House. That said this franchise already proved with the initial entry that is his capable of so much more than solid. Weather future seasons will entirely live in the shadow of Hill House remains to be seen but based on this follow up the effort it may well be the case. There is also the distinct possibility that feature entries could match the brilliance of Hill House. Critics and fans will just have to wait and see.
7/10

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: