Admittedly a little late to join the party, but I finally managed to muster up the courage over lockdown to binge watch The Haunting of Hill House (2018). I’m a huge horror fan, but I also get spooked pretty easily, so I tend to watch whilst cowering behind a cushion. Having said that, I was quick to understand the hype behind the show. It’s rare to find a good horror film, let alone a horror series but the first ‘The Haunting’ series did not disappoint.
So of course, given that we’re just days away from Hallowe’en and well into Spooky Season, I had to give The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) a watch. Featuring some of the original cast members, including Victoria Pedretti (Dani), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Peter) and Henry Thomas (Henry), this Netflix Series is loosely based on the 1898 novel, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James. However, the overlapping members of cast with the original 2018 series was probably the only similarity between the two.
Bly Manor was more of a gothic romance than supernatural horror. Even I, a self-confessed sissy, found myself yawning on more than one occasion, as I struggled to keep up with the lack of storyline. Given the term, ‘haunting,’ is in the title, I was expecting at least a handful of jump scares – but there was only one notable scene like this, and that barely even made me twitch.
The most offensive part of the Netflix series has to be the shambolic accents, closely followed by Flora’s trademark term – “perfectly splendid”
The story follows a young American woman (Pedretti) who has escaped to England, only to find herself working in the mysterious Bly Manor. She works as a governess to the Wingrave children Flora and Miles, played by Amelie Bea Smith (better known for her work as the voice of Peppa Pig) and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth.
I think, the most offensive part of the Netflix series has to be the shambolic accents, closely followed by Flora’s trademark term – “perfectly splendid” – being repeated every few minutes. I’m sure I’m not the only British person who was cringing as we attempted to look past Jackson-Cohen’s attempt at a Scottish accent. One reddit user even commented that “he sounded like a Frenchman who learned English in Dublin from a Brooklyn expat,” and I can honestly see where they’re coming from.
It took a while to even understand what was going on and, once I did, my attention quickly drifted
But the appalling accents definitely weren’t the weakest point of this Netflix Original. Not only did it lack the ability to induce fright, but overall the storyline was weak and uninteresting. And I’m not the only person who thought so. The Telegraph labelled it as ‘horror series that forgets to be frightening.’ It took a while to even understand what was going on and, once I did, my attention quickly drifted.
The only remotely interesting character, Hannah Grose (played by T’Nia Miller) was barely featured as much as fans would have liked her to be. Miller’s character carried a certain sense of eeriness that is needed in any good horror. But the rest of the characters? Well they were annoying, and seemed to spend a lot of time wandering around aimlessly in the mist. You’d almost have to be sat at your screen with a magnifying glass in hopes of spotting any remiss ghosts.
By the end, I was simply watching just for the sake of knowing what happens, and I wish I hadn’t. The ending made no sense and was a little too whimsical to be featured in any horror series, let alone one with such a notable predecessor. In fact, you’ll probably beg for it to end, if you haven’t already given up halfway through. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend watching The Haunting of Bly Manor if you’re looking for a scare, because I assure you, you will be left disappointed.
Video courtesy of Netflix via YouTube.
In – article image courtesy of @thehaunting via Instagram. No changes made to these images.
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