The trailer for The Haunting of Bly Manor, the follow up to The Haunting of Hill House, just dropped and is coming soon to Netflix. The show will be based loosely on Henry James’ 1898 horror novella, The Turn of the Screw. It is directed by Mike Flannagan and will also see the return of much of the first cast from the first season. So, now is the perfect time to watch (or re-watch for the hundredth time) the first season before the reboot drops.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018) is inspired from American author Shirley Jackson’s 1959 horror novel of the same name. The book has already been adapted thrice, as two feature films and a play, but the TV show brings something very new and brilliant to the table. The setting for the show is modern day and explores the relationships of the people involved rather than the house. The show only borrows a few aspects from the novel, like character names and very basic plot details, otherwise being completely original. The narrative weaves in and out of two timelines as we see the character’s pasts and the effect of their pasts on their presents. Each episode is produced, co-written and directed by Mike Flannagan and his vision is clearly visible in all episodes. Mike has established himself in the horror genre with hits like Gerald’s Game, Oculus and Hush, but he has outshone himself with this show. He knows what he wants and he delivers it.
The show follows five siblings trying to navigate life after their mother’s suicide and a past with haunted memories. The episodes are narrative driven and told from the perspective of each sibling in a chronological order. Each of the siblings also embody the five stages of grief and this is just the first of many tiny details that come together to give the show its narrative appeal. The flow of the story will keep you on your toes for the full ten episodes and feels more like a movie than a Netflix series. The story never lags and the show is, in true Netflix spirit, entirely bingeable. In fact, the creators of the show have expertly curated it for the Netflix audience who likes to binge shows rather than watch them in a civilized manner.
Apart from the originality of the concept and a very well written script, there are several other factors that make it a brilliant show. The cinematography is up to the standards of a high budget feature film, and sometimes even surpasses those standards. It doesn’t feel like an experiment, rather a detailed and planned execution of a novel idea. Each shot serves a purpose and adds to the overall experience of the show. It is dark and creepy, and while it has its spectral presences, the horrors lie in the stories of their characters, their mental states and their emotions. It is much more of a family drama than a horror show and therein lies its appeal as well as its fatal flaw.
Hardcore horror fans might not get exactly what they wanted in terms of jump-scares and gore, but newbies can enjoy it while being sufficiently scared and developing an interest in the horror genre. Whether you enjoy horror or drama, it’s going to be nothing like anything you’ve ever watched before.
Nidhi is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Varda Ahmad
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.