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Thread: The Haunting of Bly Manor (Mike Flanagan)

  1. #1
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    The Haunting of Bly Manor (Mike Flanagan)


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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Surprised at the lack of discussion considering how watched the Haunting of Hill house was.

    But there's a couple of things I've noticed so far.

    1. This is an adaption of The Turn of the Screw, which I just happened to watch the terrible 2020 film, the Turning, which has the most poorly executed ending I've ever seen from a studio production....

    2. The narrative is nowhere near as engaging as the THoHH- on Episode three and I'm barely hanging on. Not sure if that's because I've already kinda figured things out from the Turning, but it's genuinely less engaging, interesting, and much less from a visual aspect.

    3. The narratives aren't connected, but the cast returned, which is kinda neat because I really liked the cast of the first series.

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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Episode 3 and 4; now they are blurring the lines from psychological and physical.

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  4. #4
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Finished this. Hope others watch it for discussion here.

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    This has grown in my mind the longer I sat with it, but it really misses Flanagan's more direct involvement of the first season. I actually prefer Bly Manor's core story, unifying thematic tragedies/romanticism, and overall arc over Hill House (even if it has nothing on 1961's The Innocents), but the direction and episode-by-episode plotting are not as tight as the latter's, so it can get plodding at stretches, even in the best of episodes, and as a whole it isn’t as good as Hill House.

    It also means that each episode lives and dies by its own individual story. After a solid, evocatively Flanagan-directed pilot, this meanders for some time until Episode 4 "The Way It Came" focus on the lead Dani's blossoming relationship and reveals her backstory, its view on grief fairly gut-wrenching and superlatively acted by Victoria Pedretti. Then Episode 5 "The Altar of the Dead" has the best story of the season, with its swirling past-present layers matched by Liam Gavin's slippery direction and T'Nia Miller's deeply felt performance (who has me take a minute to recover from that last scene), making it the season's tragic high and maybe my favorite episode of the entire series. Episode 6 and especially 8 (an unnecessary whole-episode flashback) return to the sometimes plodding, often over-emphasized storytelling, but in between "The Two Faces, Part Two", with its focus on Oliver Jackson-Cohen's Peter Quint, is rather strong in its portrayal of toxic, dependent relationship. And the finale "The Beast in the Jungle" manages what Hill House wasn't able to do: stick the landing memorably without betraying what comes before.

    At one point, a character said when hearing the tale of Bly Manor: "You said it was a ghost story; it wasn't. It was a love story." I think what makes the season still linger with me is that it's not just one, but three melancholy love stories. No coincidence that the four best episodes named above focus on them to varying degree: one toxic; one tragically cut short; and one allowed to run for some blissful period, but still not the total of its course. They are woven together to provide the season's anchor, and I find their portrayals so emotionally, if sometimes mercilessly, effective. I just wish the storytelling and direction are more on par with first season, in which Flanagan’s touch can be felt more strongly throughout the whole thing, to make this truly great. Even then, the achingly bittersweet finale, with that breathtaking final shot, has one leave this story on a lovely, haunting note.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  6. #6
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    Yeh, I totally agree Peng. I did notice this throughout watching the series, but I ignored who directed each episode and was taken back a bit, when Flanagan only did the first episode. You can really feel the difference in style as it presses on, which is also why I feel Hill House is better overall.

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  7. #7
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    I've been burned out on ghost/haunting stories for years. Didnt even watch Hill House.

  8. #8
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    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    I've been burned out on ghost/haunting stories for years. Didnt even watch Hill House.
    You should.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Yeh, I totally agree Peng. I did notice this throughout watching the series, but I ignored who directed each episode and was taken back a bit, when Flanagan only did the first episode. You can really feel the difference in style as it presses on, which is also why I feel Hill House is better overall.
    I checked to see if Flanagan was busy with something else, and I think it's from another Netflix series Midnight Mass. It doesn't exactly overlap (the production was originally scheduled to start less than a month after Bly Manor wrapped up, before COVID delayed it), but I guess he took a step back from Bly to oversee that one's development. I can only imagine, with this better story, what an all-Flanagan-directed/involved Bly Manor season would look like.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

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