Aside from sharing a name and the existence of a looming haunted house, there’s not much else similar with Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor and its original knockout predecessor The Haunting of Hill House. For fans of the latter hoping for an all new, spine-chilling yet emotional journey, that’s definitely a good thing.
In case you didn’t know yet, The Haunting of Bly Manor is set years before Hill House—in 1980s England to be exact. After an au pair’s tragic death, a young American nanny named Dani (Victoria Pedretti) takes residence in the Bly Manor to take care of their orphaned children. But unfortunately for her, as she’ll soon discover, the eerie and gothic house hides centuries of dark secrets lurking at every corner just waiting to be unearthed.
At its heart, the show’s creator and showrunner Mike Flanagan describes Bly Manor as a gothic romance. “[It’s] often misunderstood— something about the word ‘romance’ lends itself to expectations of something tawdry, syrupy. Sappy even,” he says in a press release. “But in Henry James’ world, “romance” had a different connotation. Romance meant mystery and excitement—and Gothic Romance meant horror and ruin. Romance held buried secrets, supernatural agony, and the sense of encroaching doom. Gothic Romance, it turns out, has teeth... and we have had a blast sharpening them for you all.”
Where Hill House was chock-full of family drama and malevolent ghosts jumping out of your screens, the spirits at Bly Manor, borne out of love and loss, lurk in our peripheries waiting to be acknowledged. With this in mind, for the show’s returning cast, the horror series might just be a lot more relatable than the last, hence more emotionally harrowing at that.
“I think it’s more real for a lot of people,” Henry Thomas, who plays Henry Wingrave on the show, says during an interview. “We all have wounds from our pasts and things that happened to us that we probably would rather not have happened to us because whether they’re severe or minor it doesn’t matter, they stay with you. I think this is a study in what those could be if they were manifested perhaps.”
Joining Henry and Vicoria in the cast are Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Rahul Kohli, T'Nia Miller, Tahirah Sharif, and child actors Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelie Bea Smith as the Wingrave children Miles and Flora.
Catch The Haunting of Bly Manor this October 9, exclusively on Netflix, and just in time for the spooky season too!