The wait is finally over – the anticipated follow-up to 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House has finally dropped on Netflix. Although The Haunting of Bly Manor shares many of its cast and creatives with its predecessor, they’re very different stories. This time, we’re in 1980s England. Victoria Pedretti (who you’ll recognise from Hill House) plays American au pair, Dani, who’s hired to look after a wealthy lord’s orphaned niece and nephew. But things, as you may have guessed, are not as they seem…
The reviews are in, and we’ve rounded them up below so you know what to expect from director Mike Flanagan’s newest spooky offering.
GamesRadar+ and Total Film
"It's perhaps slightly unfair to keep comparing this to Hill House. Bly Manor shares similar connective tissues – there are the same slow-creeping wide shots and plenty of jump scares – but the new series is very fun. A strange term, perhaps, to use to describe a show that will haunt you long after the credits roll, but one that's apt for Bly Manor. The scares will have you grabbing your quarantine buddy's hand, but never quite chilling you to the bone. This is prime Saturday night watching material that's gripping because, no matter how many times you watch Dani walking around the haunted building, there's always a tense build-up to a scare that'll have your popcorn covering the living-room floor." Read the full review here.
"Let’s just get this out of the way: the follow-up to Netflix’s excellent horror series The Haunting of Hill House is nowhere near as scary as its predecessor. The sequel, dubbed The Haunting of Bly Manor, is still about a house filled with ghosts and people dealing with terrible grief. And while those ideas can be terrifying on their own, that’s not really the point of the show. Instead, Bly Manor is more of a narrative puzzle box — one where ghosts and the afterlife are just another part of the mystery." Read the full review here (opens in new tab).
"Unlike the legion of frights tucked under every bed and behind every creaking door in his original haunted house, Flanagan’s “Bly Manor” is an unhurried, allegorically dense, romantic melodrama. I like it, but it’s not quite a love story — or if it is, it’s not an affecting one. More importantly, it’s not a horror show, and Netflix viewers should dissuade themselves of such presumptions, or risk missing its beautiful reflections." Read the full review here (opens in new tab).
"The sense of dread and confusion throughout the house are palpable. Much of the action takes place at night, and Flanagan, the other directors, and cinematographers Maxime Alexandre and James Kniest do well at making things clear whenever they need to be. Like with Hill House, the style is deliberately old-school and low-fi. This is not a show meant to be watched while you scroll Instagram, or you’ll miss the many disturbing things that pop into the background for a half-second or two." Read the full review here (opens in new tab).
"In the series' second installment, The Haunting of Bly Manor, creator and showrunner Flanagan seems to have absorbed the lessons of Hill House's abiding flaw, and course-corrected. Without spoiling anything, I will say that Bly Manor nails the all-important dismount, and does so in a sincere, humane and bittersweet way that directly addresses the nature, and the purpose, of grief. It's not overtly tidy or dully expositional — yet it feels, in the best way, inevitable." Read the full review here (opens in new tab).