Well, it turns out that the scary season was the perfect moment to release The Haunting of Bly Manor, the second “haunting” anthology after Hill House last year.
The series has been at the top of Netflix’s top 10 list for a week and doesn’t seem to show any signs of slackening once other Comers like Emily in Paris and the final season of Schitt’s Creek fail to catch it.
Bly Manor scored slightly lower than Hill House on critical points, 93% versus 86% for Rotten Tomatoes critics, 91% to 67% for fans, although most of the complaints I see are related to the accents that are on the website will be used show? Strange but okay.
Bly Manor has already cemented strong positions for two key figures in the Netflix ecosystem: Mike Flanagan, creator of both series, who should now effectively have a blank check to do what he wants with the success of these two shows, and actress Victoria Pedretti , which had a smaller stake than any of the siblings (the dead one) in The Haunting of Hill House but made a big splash in You Season 2, Netflix took over the series from Lifetime. Now she’s the central star here, standing alongside Millie Bobbie Brown and Henry Cavill as one of Netflix’s most recognizable faces on three of its most popular shows.
In my review, I said I liked The Haunting of Hill House better than Bly Manor, but that’s a high bar because I’m actually watching Hill House’s best original series on Netflix and Bly Manor is still very, very good and shifted its focus to a love story rather than one purely about the family. As I said earlier, Flanagan almost created a new genre of “uplifting” horror here, if that makes sense. These “haunting” series have their fear of jumping, but usually no more than 1-2 per full season, and it’s less about being unsettling and terrifying than about human connections as told through the medium of the spirit world . And man, it really, really works.
Even before the success of Bly Manor, Mike Flanagan signed an all-inclusive deal with Netflix in 2019. Flanagan also directed Gerald’s play with Carla Gugino, who also starred in both Haunting productions, and in theaters for Doctor Sleep, the sequel to Shining I didn’t particularly like it, although his other work was so solid.
Flanagan’s next project doesn’t seem to be another Haunting yet, but rather Midnight Mass, where he and his Haunting cohort Trevor Macy team up for a seven-episode series about an isolated island community witnessing miraculous events. No, this isn’t the third day on HBO Max. This was reported again in 2019 so it may have been pushed back due to COVID. So if we do a third haunted getaway, it probably won’t take more than 1.5 to 2 years I would guess.
For now, enjoy the two we have, some of the best horror ever seen on TV.
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