Netflix are ready to scare us all into next year – although we wouldn’t be that mad to see the back of 2020 – with their new show The Haunting of Bly Manor. The series is a stylistic sequel to The Haunting of Hill House, which in 2018 had hordes of people suffering sleepless nights for fear of being visited by the bent-neck lady – we don’t recommend googling her. However, there aren’t many sleepless nights after this show, which follows an au pair sent to sort out some kooky kids in their draughty old English manor. With bag loads of family trauma and a few creepy dolls, Netflix should have a recipe for terror, but sadly the fear factor ends up more in the realm of Scooby Doo than Nightmare on Elm Street. Yes, you might jump a bit, but there’s no fear of waking the neighbours with your hellish screams. Maybe we’ve just been mis-sold the show: if they billed it as a spooky psychological thriller, we’d be more likely to enjoy this meandering and metaphoric haunting.
In The Telegraph, Ed Power comments that The Haunting of Bly Manor “isn’t nearly terrifying enough,” saying “you stare and you stare but the true horrors never show up.” Lucy Mangan in The Guardian had a real issue with the Americans playing Brits, saying “the only terrifying things are the accents and the language.” Bloody Nora. The Independent’s Annabel Nugent had something positive to say, calling the series “stylish, bingeable and at times genuinely scary,” but concluding that it’s ultimately “underwhelming.”
First shown October 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.