Horror is a genre filled with cheap jumpscares and other devices that aren’t really terrifying at all. The Haunting of Hill House delivered real, exciting horror two years ago. How does the second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, compare?
The first few episodes start out slow. The characters are introduced and potential plot lines are set up. It doesn’t take long for the viewer to realise that something is off. I couldn’t quite tell what, but I could certainly tell that strange things were happening. The set up and execution were pretty well done up to episode 5-6.
The story is wrapped up in the final episodes, but they do get off track quite a bit. It didn’t really feel satisfying to see the conclusion. Towards the end, the internal consistency just wasn’t there. I get it that it’s supposed to be supernatural, but even ghosts have to abide by rules.
I noticed two recurring themes, especially in the second half of the season: memories and death. It is mentioned repeatedly. Several conversations between Hannah and Owen discuss these themes in detail. The final message seems to be that we are our memories and we fade away over time. Very nihilistic.
The first six episodes were very well set up and delivered on some great psychological horror. It doesn’t revolve around cheap tricks like jumpscares and monsters. The writers let you wonder what everything means and make you wait for the resolution patiently. In my eyes only the cherry on top of of the cake is missing. Hill House was better, but Bly Manor will do just fine.