Viewers may still have to wait several days for The Haunting of Bly Manor to premiere on Netflix, but the reviews are already rolling in. Set to debut on Friday, Oct. 9, is Bly Manor gaining the same fanfare among critics as its predecessor, The Haunting of Hill House?
Based on Henry James' 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, Bly Manor follows Dani, a young American nanny who travels to England in the '80s to care for the young Wingrave children, who are left orphaned following the deaths of their parents. Once at the remote country home in England called Bly, however, it soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems, and something dark may be lurking in the home. The series marks the second installment of the Haunting anthology series.
Although Netflix subscribers haven't yet had the chance to weigh in on the series, critics seem to be praising it. With a total of 27 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, Bly Manor currently has a fresh rating of 93%, equal to that of Hill House, which has a total of 96 reviews. The first installment of the Haunting anthology, Hill House, is currently available for streaming on Netflix. Bly Manor will debut on the platform on Friday, Oct. 9. Keep scrolling to see what critics are saying.
An ‘Artful Balance’ of Drama, Horror, and Romance
In her review for Screen Rex, writer Hannah Lodge praised Bly Manor and director Mike Flanagan for striking "an artful balance of family drama, gothic horror, character work, and romance." Lodge did note that unlike its predecessor, "there are significantly fewer jump scares, which may be a plus or a minus depending on your affinity for those."prevnext
There’s ‘A Lot to be Excited About’
Giving the season 3 out of 5 stars, ComicBook.com's Charlie Ridgley said that "the biggest knock against The Haunting of Bly Manor is that it has the unfortunate task of following The Haunting of Hill House," though it is "bound to leave most horror fans satisfied by the time it comes to a close."
"Even in the face of its shortcomings, Bly Manor offers a lot to be excited about. Disguising a gothic romance as a supernatural horror project is a bold move that really pays off in the finale," Ridgley added. "The performances range from good to extraordinary, with T'Nia Miller and Amelia Eve proving themselves especially outstanding. There are even some legitimately terrifying moments hidden at the manor, involving both the living and the dead; similar to Hill House, there's one horrifying jump-scare towards the end of the show."prevnext
‘Entertaining and Evocative Followup’
Writing for TVGuide, Sadie Gennis dubbed Bly Manor an "entertaining and evocative followup to Hill House" that "never quite" reaches the "the heights of its predecessor." Although the new installment "can't match the visceral, haunting imagery of Hill House, or even the psychological suspense of Turn of the Screw," it does succeed in other ways.
"What Bly Manor succeeds at, though, is building a sense of grievous dread, exploring the ways in which we deliver ourselves to a doomed fate and make choices that follow us even into death," Gennis wrote. "While the pensively tragic season may not be what many expect going into Bly Manor, Flanagan nurtures this dread with tender care throughout the nine episodes, building a story about love and heartbreak in which ghosts are as much embodiments of romance as obstacles to it."prevnext
It’s a Love Story
"Underneath the lore and horror elements, Bly Manor is predominantly a love story, keener with focusing on the complexities and secrets of the characters than shock value, so as to curate an effective narrative," The Only Critic's Nate Adams wrote. "You'll be shocked at how much conversation takes place throughout the season with the lack of spectacle surprising. But some of those relationships are the most compelling aspects Flanagan unspools. The specifics of which are too spoilery to delve into."prevnext
Bly Manor will ‘Stick in Your Brain’
Giving it a grade of A-, Vinnie Mancuso wrote for Collider that Bly Manor "might not be scary but it certainly sticks in your brain long after it's over, because stories-like houses, like people-don't have to horrify to be haunting." According to Mancuso, the season is "a far more subtle beast" than Hill House, one that spins "its plates for episodes at a time to set up a centuries-spanning narrative that hits like a ton of bricks when the finale finally brings it all crashing down."
"If you're coming to Bly Manor looking primarily for Hill House's straight-up horror edges, you might be left cold," he wrote. "But if it was the human aspect of Hill House's haunts that appealed to you, well, how about another turn of the screw?"prevnext
‘As Gripping and Grounded’ as ‘Hill House’
Multiple journalists for TVLine are signing praise for Bly Manor, which they say while different from Hill House, is just as worthy of a watch. In his review, Michael Ausiello said the series is "spooky, well-timed lightning has indeed struck twice" and as "gripping and grounded as its predecessor — with 10 times more Victoria Pedretti, to boot!" Nick Caruso, meanwhile, said Bly Manor "is just as effective” as Hill House and offers a "subdued tone and fresh approach" that help it "stand on its own feet."prevnext
It will ‘Haunt You’ Even After the Credits Roll
"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," Jack Shepherd wrote in his review for Games Radar. "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."prev