The Haunting of Bly Manor captivated my very being through its nine-part retelling of a ghost story intertwined with the complexities of love. Through Jamie’s memories, we explored the hallways of Bly and became puppets of cinematic genius as our adrenaline raced and subsided with every twist and turn. The series is a prime psychological thriller that forces you to question everything, and here are five reasons why:
1. It is the Netflix Original equivalent of a monochrome puzzle
You have no idea what is happening until the end but slowly the pieces fit together and it all makes sense. We were given so many hints from the beginning and it wasn’t until episode seven when they all started to come together. In the intro itself, we catch a glimpse of the inevitable fate of most of the characters when all the eyes in the paintings fade away. In the very first episode, we saw the muddy footprints, the eerie lake, and the extra dolls in Flora’s dollhouse that didn’t seem to belong. Only much later did we realize that every doll would mimic the movements of the ghost that it represented.
2. If you blink, you probably missed something
I like to call the hidden clues “flashbulb clues.” For just a moment they illuminate a small part of the truth but if you have to be watching to catch them. When Dina first walks into the home we are given a clear shot of the stairs and the portraits at the top which we later knew to be very important. In this scene, we are given a vague description of Perdita’s pink dress, as illustrated in her portrait. Later in the parents’ bedroom, Dina is distracted by some jewelry and we start to hear a loud groaning sound. As Flora looks behind her we get a very vague image of the source of the sound but just enough to make out the ruffles of Perdita’s dress.
3. Each character has a complex storyline
They have been scripted with their unique tragic perspectives of life at the Manor and were carefully woven into the plot. I genuinely wanted Miles to be eliminated because he was questionable from the beginning, but I had an immense appreciation for his character when Peter Quinn’s motives were revealed. I thought it was brilliant to portray Quinn’s personality through a young boy because the discomfort experienced by the audience hides the truth on its own. In episode two when Miles stops Dina in the hallway and tucks her hair behind her ear, that was a breadcrumb of truth that Miles was not himself. My favorite backstory is that of Hannah Grose. She was so seamlessly incorporated into the storyline that we didn’t even notice that she was a ghost. It became clearer when she began to see cracks in the walls that no one else could, identical to those at the bottom of the well in which she died. At the beginning of the series, Hannah tells Dina that she lights one candle for each of the dead at Bly Manor, and we see four lit candles. Three candles were obviously for Miles and Flora’s parents and Rebecca Jessel, but only after we see Hannah in the well is it clear that the fourth candle was for herself.
4. The main character is only occasionally dense
Dina is relatively intelligent compared to the main characters in other horror movies and shows. She proves herself to be wary and alert at the right times, but something about her inquisitive nature just sets me off. When two creepy children whom you just met ask you to stay in your room at night, the most logical thing to do would be exactly that. Instead, Dina decided to go on a walk and get a snack. If I woke up to muddy footprints in my house I definitely wouldn’t just get on board with it. Apart from her occasionally problematic decision-making, she is quite an asset in terms of reliability. She did not understand the weight of what she was saying when Viola was taking Flora into the lake but knew that was the solution. In the last episode when Viola’s possession over Dina grew stronger, she made the difficult decision to leave Jamie. Dina could have chosen to wait until she was taken away completely but could not bear the idea of Jamie being hurt.
5. The ending made my eyes sweat
There was nothing more romantic and heartwarming than the final scene of the series. We had been confused and shoved through the wringer emotionally through all nine episodes, but knowing for sure that Dani was watching over Jamie helped me sleep at night. Knowing that regardless of the failed love stories that were sparked at Bly Manor, the purest and truest of them all persisted even through death.
Jamie and Dina’s love story will remain in our hearts as we wait (quite impatiently) for the third installment of The Haunting series. Mike Flannigan isn’t one to disappoint and we will certainly gather again for another phenomenal spooky tale. After all, it’s me, it’s you, it’s us.