The Haunting Of Bly Manor: You may aswell Netflix and Chill

The Haunting Of Bly Manor is voted one of the best shows to ‘Netflix and Chill’ to (because it’s so long-winded and dry there’s nothing better to do!)

Netflix’s latest horror series, The Haunting Of Bly Manor, has been hailed one of the top shows to get amorous to this Halloween.

Fashion brand Missguided have declared it one of the series most likely to result in ‘Netflix and Chill’ – aka getting raunchy with someone while hanging out, watching TV. 

Other shows on the list include American Horror Story, The Sinner and Ozark – all excellent shows; but in the case of Bly Manor, those turning to sex will surely be doing so as a way of passing the time.

Bump in the night? Netflix’s latest horror series, The Haunting Of Bly Manor, has been hailed one of the top shows to get amorous to this Halloween

The series is the follow up to 2018’s popular The Haunting Of Hill House; and promoting it as such is surely what explains how its managed to hang onto its place on Netflix’s Top 10 list this October.

Its popularity can’t be down to the show itself – which, at nine episodes, is about eight episodes too long.

By around episode five you’re ready to follow Bly Manor’s one-time governess Rebecca Jessel [Tahirah Sharif] into the lake in which she drowned so you can join her.

Bly Manor is based loosely on legendary Gothic novelist Henry James’ 1898 ghost story The Turn Of The Screw.

Proving popular: The series is the follow up to 2018’s popular The Haunting Of Hill House; and promoting it as such is surely what explains how its managed to hang onto its place on Netflix’s Top 10 list this October

Ending it! By around episode five you’re ready to follow Bly Manor’s one-time governess Rebecca Jessel [Tahirah Sharif] into the lake in which she drowned so you can join her

While that is a masterpiece, this isn’t.

It starts off with promise: half of the actors from Hill House have been recast as new characters, giving viewers a sense of familiarity in this new apparition-filled mansion.

The first issue with this though is that Hill House was set in America, while Bly Manor is in England. The mostly-American cast are therefore tasked with speaking in British accents.

While they give it a good shot, any British viewers watching this show would likely rather listen to a cheese grater being dragged across glass.

Henry Thomas – of Hill House [adult] and E.T. [child] fame – plays troubled uncle Henry Wingrave, who is tasked with replacing his orphaned niece and nephew’s former, now-drowned governess Miss Jessel with a new nanny.

Jarring: While the cast give English accents a good shot, any British viewers watching this show would likely rather listen to a cheese grater being dragged across glass

Accent or accident? Carla Gugino tries her own stab at Englishness. What we get is a hybrid of Guildford-meets-Skipton, made even more infuriating by the constant use of the term ‘tucked away’, which she pronounces ‘tooked ewey’

His attempts at poshness start off alright, but he seems to give up mid-way through the series. By episode six we are shown his backstory and informed that he is haunted by an apparition of himself, who smiles oddly at him.

It’s as if this actor couldn’t muster the ability to be creepy and posh at the same time and so gives up on the latter.

This is not the most offensive accent of Bly Manor. The crown goes to Carla Gugino who plays the future version of gardener Jamie and who narrates the story.

Muddled: More dialect terribleness comes in the form of Tahirah Sharif’s Miss Jessel, which makes no sense because the actress is British

Because the actress portraying younger Jamie, Amelia Eve, is a thoroughbred Brit with a northern twang, Gugino has tried to replicate this in her own stab at Englishness. What we get is a hybrid of Guildford-meets-Skipton, made even more infuriating by the constant use of the term ‘tucked away’, which she pronounces ‘tooked ewey’.

She says things like ‘the province of Hampshire’ and ‘rich in pound Stirling’. This is less the actress’ fault, and more a lack of understanding from whoever wrote the script. They need to be told that Hampshire isn’t a province and we are not in a Travelex.

More dialect terribleness comes in the form of Tahirah Sharif’s Miss Jessel, which makes no sense because the actress is British!

It could be possible to overlook the accent issue if Bly Manor was actually a decent series.

Dead, not buried: You know Mrs Grose [T’Nia Miller] is dead from the off because she refuses to eat or drink anything, lest it presumably spill right through her

Another day, another ghost: We have a multi-generational, mixed-layering of hauntings on our hands

Because it’s based on The Turn Of The Screw’s plot, it’s not the storyline that is the issue.

The erstwhile nanny still haunts Bly Manor, as does the Lothario-like Peter Quint [Oliver Jackson-Cohen], Uncle Henry’s charming-yet-controlling employee, who is also dead.

He was killed by another ghost – former lady of the house Viola Willoughby [Kate Siegel] who was betrayed by her sister and continues to wreak havoc on those who set foot in the property.

Here we start our multi-generational, mixed-layering of hauntings. While Viola runs riot, hailing from a few-hundred years ago, Peter and his drowned governess lover Rebecca also stalk the corridors, using the children of the house as their pawns.

There’s also a dead housekeeper, Mrs Grose [T’Nia Miller] who you know is dead from the off because she refuses to eat or drink anything, lest it presumably spill right through her.

Stepping in: A new nanny is hired [Victoria Pedretti] and, between them, the ghosts try and send her mad

A new nanny is hired [Victoria Pedretti] and, between them, the ghosts try and send her mad.

This sounds like a wonderful recipe for an autumn chiller, but it falls flat almost immediately.

The first four episodes plod slowly along. There’s an air of intrigue as well as lovely cinematography, which adds to the atmosphere of the show. But when episode five rolls around, things become staler than the untouched bread on Mrs Grose’s plate. This must be the point at which the Netflix and Chillers among us are likely to start rolling around too.

Episode five swings back and forth in time to different parts of Mrs Grose’s time at Bly Manor. We have to re-watch the scene in which she interviews the cook Owen [Rahul Kohli], and hear about his stint as a sous-chef about five times.

History repeating: Episode five swings back and forth in time to different parts of Mrs Grose’s time at Bly Manor

‘I just had to chop vegetables!’ he repeats, as we pray he’d chop off our ears while he’s at it.

Episode six – titled The Jolly Corner – is anything but. This is the one with Henry’s smiling alter-ego and strained posh accent. Sadly, we’ve lost the will to care by now.

Episode seven sees Peter and Rebecca suddenly materialize and instruct the children to tie up new nanny Dani, who sits there screaming through her gag while the other four stand around and chat for pretty much the whole episode.

Episode eight is called The Romance Of Certain Old Clothes, and is as muddled as its title [a nod to another Henry James story].

Hanging about: Episode seven sees Peter and Rebecca suddenly materialize and instruct the children to tie up new nanny Dani, who sits there screaming through her gag while the other four stand around and chat for pretty much the whole episode

Backstory: Future Jamie painstakingly narrates with her Surrey/Yorkshire drawl, recounting in every detail how Viola took on a routine of ‘sleeping, waking and walking’ for months after she died

It gives us the backstory of Viola Willoughby, with future Jamie painstakingly narrating it with her Surrey/Yorkshire drawl, recounting in every detail how Viola took on a routine of ‘sleeping, waking and walking’ for months after she died.

This is enough to make the viewer sleep, wake and walk off a ledge.

The best – and most ludicrous – part of this episode is when she strangles her sister by materializing from beyond the grave inside an antique clothes chest.

If you’ve made it to this point in the series you may as well see it through to learn what happens.

Climax: If you’ve made it to this point in the series you may as well see it through to learn what happens

Things are tied up, but there are plenty of lingering plot-points swatted away by the old ‘it’s supernatural so doesn’t really need explaining’ excuse.

By The Haunting Of Bly Manor’s climax, it’s understandable to imagine most viewers will be doing less Netflixing and more Chilling.

Missguided has even provided a Chill Score out of 200. It combines nudity, ‘hotness of actors’, length of the show and IMDB rating. Bly Manor gets 143, whatever that means.

It’s safe to say there are much funner things to do this Halloween than watch this series.

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