• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 9, 2020
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 94
  2. Negative: 22 out of 94
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User Reviews

  1. Oct 11, 2020
    5
    If you're looking for something in the vain of "Hill House", "Bly Manor" will not have it. "Hill House" was almost perfect in every sense. A great intricate story, great acting, scary, haunting, emotional and heartbreaking. "Bly Manor" is stripped of all that. It's more of an uninteresting, dragged out, not very haunting dark love story, with a huge disconnect with the characters thatIf you're looking for something in the vain of "Hill House", "Bly Manor" will not have it. "Hill House" was almost perfect in every sense. A great intricate story, great acting, scary, haunting, emotional and heartbreaking. "Bly Manor" is stripped of all that. It's more of an uninteresting, dragged out, not very haunting dark love story, with a huge disconnect with the characters that simply makes you not care. While "Hill House" had me glued to the seat through all episodes, "Bly Manor" was a chore to get through. Expand
  2. Oct 17, 2020
    4
    I prefered the first season. It's basically not scary at all and the character drama just isn't very interesting. And it's way too long for what it has to say. Could have been a 2 hour movie.
  3. Jul 6, 2021
    6
    This second entry in Mike Flanagan's The Haunting anthology series is a significant step back from what we got with Hill House. Stylistically it's a bit too British for its own good. The wide array of grating accents, the irritatingly proper way everybody speaks, and the ever present narrator designed to give the tale a more storybook feel do Bly Manor no favors. Essentially making theThis second entry in Mike Flanagan's The Haunting anthology series is a significant step back from what we got with Hill House. Stylistically it's a bit too British for its own good. The wide array of grating accents, the irritatingly proper way everybody speaks, and the ever present narrator designed to give the tale a more storybook feel do Bly Manor no favors. Essentially making the whole thing come off as Hill House, but annoying.

    If this really is supposed to be a love story, it's a rather poor one given the lengths it goes through to ensure everyone ends up alone by the end. It does feature some great lessons about love however. The way it critiques possession over genuine affection and things like toxic masculinity among others works because it's not preachy or insulting in its delivery. It never points the finger, just reveals that these things do unfortunately exist and can cause real harm.

    The pacing can be downright atrocious. The early episodes are almost painfully uninteresting outside of the promise of the mystery at hand as not much happens in them, and things darn near crawl to a halt in the final two after the show runners boneheadedly decided not to capitalize on a particularly intense cliffhanger by continuing the action from where it left off right away. Instead choosing to dive right into the ghost's backstory which proves to be story's dullest chapter and robs the menace of a lot of its fear factor.

    As a matter of fact, this is really disappointing as a work of horror altogether. The attempts to frighten viewer amount to little more than a repeated jump scare where the main character sees someone standing behind her in reflective surfaces, a trick that ends up being as overly used as the words "perfectly splendid," and the appearance of the occasional specter lurking at the back of the screen. The latter of which was also featured in Bly Manor's infinitely superior predecessor and suffers from diminishing returns here.

    For all of its faults though there are moments of shear brilliance. The way it gives its ghosts a motive for tormenting the living by locking them in a hellish cycle where they themselves are haunted by moments from their past is probably the most memorable and standout aspect of the whole thing, while also serving as a nice twist on one of Hill House's more interesting wrinkles as well. Plus, the entire middle portion is pretty fantastic as that is where the emotions are at their highest, the tension is at its max, and the reveals are flowing. I even liked how not every entity the character's encounter actually exists at all. Some are just figments of their imagination spawned from past regrets.

    Unfortunately, questionable decision making from Flanagan and crew make this mini-series feel messy, uneven, and poorly thought-out. Like how there's a major villain swap right at the conclusion that makes both foes feel inconsequential in a way or how none of the supporting character's subplots go anywhere so you're left wondering why they were included in the first place. As engrossing as it can be at times, these cracks in Bly's foundation keep it from ever being a truly satisfying watch. Especially considering it's following an act that was practically flawless.
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Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Nov 30, 2020
    75
    The nice thing is it pretty much works. Oh, there’s a great deal of silliness and some false notes — it is a ghost story, after all and some explanations add up while others just drift away. But in the end “Bly Manor” dares to make at least some sense (which is likely blasphemy to Henry James fanatics).
  2. Reviewed by: Aja Romano
    Oct 12, 2020
    70
    Some pointed and strategic tonal shifts throughout the series’ nine episodes also help keep the pace from flagging, though I’d argue that nine episodes was a few too many. Conversely, given proper attention, the series’ climax could have been significantly expanded and dramatized.
  3. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Oct 9, 2020
    70
    While Hill House excelled in its early, grounded episodes before devolving into chaos at the end, Bly Manor only gets going in a second half that, despite some distractingly soapy twists, thrives on productive confusion. And it offers a more satisfying conclusion than the first season.