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The Haunting of Bly Manor proves every love story is a ghost story

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The Haunting of Bly Manor, which premiered last week on Netflix, makes me a little sad that I’ve never seen a ghost. This is the second series of The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan. As american horror story, the Haunted the shows are anthology dramas, each series telling a stand-alone story. They are not linked, in other words, other than by the cast and the aesthetic every show is first a drama and then a horror show, largely set in lush and spooky realms.

As Hill house, Manor of Bly is based on a fundamental horror text. For this tour, Flanagan chose the novel Henry James 1898 The turn of the screw. The original story is told in flashback by an anonymous narrator who tells the story of a housekeeper hired to care for a niece and nephew of a wealthy man in majestic Bly Manor. Over time, the housekeeper begins to see people who may not really be there, and she also suspects that something is wrong with the children. Manor of Bly uses its source material as a loose framework for storytelling, filling the spaces between the major rhythms of the original plot with stand-alone stories about people haunted by very real things (like guilt or jealousy) that sometimes take on a dimension supernatural (ghosts).

Manor of Bly begins in 2007, with a ghost story told by a woman (Carla Gugino) on the eve of a wedding in an old historic mansion. Its story takes place 20 years earlier, when a woman named Dani (Victoria Pedretti), living abroad in London, takes a job from the wealthy Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) to be a housekeeper to his niece and nephew, Flora ( Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth). She therefore moves into the dark Bly Manor to take care of her new charges.

But something’s wrong with Bly, the kids have clearly seen things that no kid should see, and someone appears to be living in the West Wing, which is supposed to be cordoned off. Meanwhile, Dani runs away from something that causes her to cover every mirror she encounters.

Despite all this spooky scenery, however, Manor of Bly is not very important for those times when you want to hide under the covers. Like the short story it’s based on, the series is a gothic romance, which means it’s more interested in the supernatural as a way to explore indescribable feelings, like terror or love. The genre never tends to be very popular in its day because it is often confused with the simpler version of horror: the creepy genre.

Like the ghosts at its heart, Gothic romances tend to develop in the narrative, as more people tell their tragic stories. There are some scary moments, but the series contrasts slightly with The Haunting of Hill House, which produced a number of delightfully spooky episodes during its run. Manor of Bly try something more difficult.

Its nine episodes weave into a number of tragic stories as the series expands its reach, growing to fill the dark halls of the eponymous mansions. We hear about the housekeeper, Hannah Grose (TNia Miller), so lost in her job that she gets lost, seeming to forget her own biography. About Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and Rebecca Jessel (Tahirah Sharif), whose whirlwind romance ends, as you might expect, in tragedy. (Gothic romance.) About the history of Bly Manor itself. This adds to a series that believes the real start of a ghost story is a kiss, not a haunting, because loving ultimately means crying. Ghosts are nothing but pain that has managed to bend the rules of the natural world.

In The Haunting of Bly Manor, as The Haunting of Hill House in front of him, real ghosts hide in the edges of the frame, just blurry. Spotting them is a fun and scary diversion, mainly because the characters on the show don’t notice them.

Look closely and you will see them: a plague doctor appears in various rooms; elsewhere, a soldier appears blurry. They are different from the ghosts actors can see and from those who terrorize them. They make you wonder what ghosts haunt the spaces you walk through each day and the stories that might lurk in familiar places.

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