Trying to match the runaway success of ‘Hill House’ was never going to be an easy task.  But man, oh man did this show give it a damn good try.

Certificate: 18

Creator: Mike Flanagan

Starring: Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Henry Thomas

Episodes: 9

Runtime: 60 Minutes Each

Genre: Mystery, Horror

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A young governess is hired by an English businessman to take care of his young niece and nephew in an isolated country estate.  The initial joy over this posting is short lived however when Dani starts to experience dark and ghostly phenomenon in the house.  The odd children in her care clearly know more than they are letting on and soon the twisted and tragic history behind the house is revealed.  When this finally come to a climax, not everyone will get away from Bly Manor unscathed.

I doubt I am alone in saying that after how much I enjoyed Hill House, I was more than a little dubious about Bly Manor.  Could they really follow that show up with something as good?  Answer? Pretty much yes.  We see a return by much of the excellent cast of the first series, all of them still giving absolutely fantastic performances.  Particularly by Victoria Pedretti, but more on that later. I do not think it was as scary as Hill House, but there were still a few moments that gave me chills.  Not disappointing at all.

So, Victoria Pedretti.  While we did get to see her in Hill House, she had pretty minimal screen time despite being a main character.  Here, she is the main focus, and everything pretty much revolves around her.  And her portrayal here is just superb.  She has really got to ride an emotional roller coaster in this film and has a lot of hard scenes to get through.  Not only is her performance nearly flawless, but by the time we get to the end of her story, she has captivated you so much your heart is breaking for her.  She really was the standout performance.  Not to take any oraise away from out two young actors who play her charges.  They alternate between utterly creepy and so charming in the blink of an eye.  This anthology series has a great record of getting the best out of it’s young actors, and it has done it again here.

There have been enough adaptions of ‘The Turning of the Screw’ for no big plot points in this show to be that much of a surprise, it was the little tweaks that they threw in that made it so unique.  The only thing I am not sure about is the ending.  Don’t get me wrong, I love how the story wrapped up, but I think it takes a really long time to wind down and I was waiting for a much bigger payoff.  I also kind of guessed pretty early on the identity of our mystery narrator.  But that didn’t stop the very end scenes being a great ending for these characters.

If you loved Hill House, you will definitely love this.  Same creepy atmosphere, same dark twisted story, same excellent presentation.  If you are putting this one off because of dubiousness, don’t.  It will be worth it.

‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ is streaming now on Netflix