Horror Hill House and Bly Manor


Just wanted to give these a shout-out.

Watched Hill House last year around this time, and re-watched it this year with my kids since my youngest is finally a teenager. It's one of the best seasons of television that I've ever seen. It's not only a great ghost story, it's also a great family drama. It's incredibly well put together, shot, acted, the music is perfect.

I tend to like horror that does not include lots of violence and gore. If it serves the story then OK, otherwise I think it's lazy and not scary. To me, the threat of violence is much more terrifying, rather seeing the act itself. So, if you're into that kind of horror then you might find this slow and boring.

Started watching Bly Manor just this past weekend, about 4 episodes in, and it is very similar in nature. It actually uses a lot of the same actors, the musical score is re-used (which is fine it's great), and I'm pretty sure they just use the same set for Bly Manor that they did for Hill House, just rearranged some things. Which again, fits, because this is supposedly an anthology series.

Bly Manor seems to be more "family friendly" than Hill House, which had a lot of language and adult themes. It's not a kid show by any means, but though I wouldn't show Hill to kids in middle school, I would Bly.

So, just wanted to recommend these during the Halloween season...


It's definitely a "slow burn", and it builds everything up, but it does flawlessly IMO, and the payoff is great.

And, just to update on Bly Manor, I thought it was terrible. Here's a little review I wrote up for another site:

My main problems with it:

1. Didn't care about the characters - Hill House did a fantastic job of fleshing out the characters and making you care about what happened to them. Bly just... didn't. I think part of the problem was that they were trying to be intentionally ambiguous about certain characters to maintain some mystery, but because of that you never gain any type of emotional attachment to them. They were all pretty bland anyways, and I found the main character to actually be annoying. Which is too bad because it's the same actress that played Nell in Hill House, and she was very good in that.

Plus, in Hill House, the house itself really felt like a character, in this one, it was just a house.

2. Poorly written and put together - Too much "tell" rather than "show". The initial few episodes were creepy and intriguing, but don't develop too much. Then we get a flood of "explanation" episodes towards the end that just spoon feed us everything. Once again comparing to Hill House, that show slow drips so many plot points throughout while still being riveting and just confusing enough to keep you guessing, then brings them all together in the last couple of episodes in spectacular fashion.

3. "Lost" plot points - There are some ghosts, that I won't name or specify, that are introduced and used to great effect early on, but then are just wasted later on, either not used at all or just disappear completely with no explanation. There is also a very interesting device involving the kids' uncle in one episode, but that also is never used again or connected to the main story in any way. The housekeeper, who's story may be the most intriguing of them all, seems to be setup for something big, then it's just nothing.

Too many plot points and devices are used for drama or scares, then just discarded. It's hard to believe the same guy did this show. And actually I looked it up, and while he wrote and directed everything in Hill House, he only directed the first episode of Bly, and there are more writers credited for Bly than Hill House. Too may cooks in the kitchen?

4. Most importantly - it just wasn't scary! The first few episodes have some truly creepy moments, and the same ominous musical score from Hill is used very well. Then, it turns more into a drama, too much explanation of the ghosts happen, and they just aren't scary anymore, even when the final conflict happens.

I guess it's worth a watch once, but while I've seen Hill 3 times and every viewing it's just as good if not better, I will likely never waste my time with this one again. 4/10