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" The Haunting of Bly House " (2020)


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Mike Flanagan has adapted Henry James classic ghost story "The Turn of the Screw" into a miniseries for Netflix.  It's more drama than horror and anyone familiar with Jack Clayton's "The Innocents" will see recognize the familiar plot. Nanny is hired to look over two children in an English country state and she begins to suspect that there are supernatural forces haunting the house.  Flanagan has updated the story to modern times and I think that's his first mistake.  This sort of ghost story is better in a period setting. He also had to modernized the characters and now for example the malevolent Quint is not a games keeper but some sort of corporate assistant.   The series look great and the cast is good but I find it too familiar and slow moving at leas the first three episodes. And my favorite question how does one house keeper take care of such a huge place?

 

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I've watched the first two episodes and I'm actually enjoying this more than Hill House. I liked Hill House, aside from the ending which I thought was a tonal contrast to the test of the story--way too schmaltzy. I like the ambiguity of the book/1963 film far better.

I actually find Bly Manor scarier. It focuses less on jump scares and more on subtle visual details to create genuine unease. That's just my initial reaction though. I'm curious to see how the rest of the series plays out.

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I finished the series about a week ago. Overall, it's pretty good. I still think it's better than Hill House. However, similar to Hill House, I did not care for the ending of Bly Manor. The tone felt too drastically different in comparison to the previous episodes.

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