TV Reviews

Why the Ghosts in "The Haunting of Bly Manor" Make No Sense

Bly Manor's messy, lawless ghost stories interrogate the ways that love can haunt us.

Netflix

The first rule of living at Bly Manor is: Don't talk about ghosts. The second rule is: Don't talk to the ghosts. The third rule is: You might actually be a ghost.

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Netflix's latest horror series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, trades in a different type of terror than its predecessor, The Haunting of Hill House. Low on jump scares and high on existential torture, Bly Manor asks you to imagine the afterlife as a realm of human husks who may or may not know that they're dead.

As the series unfolds, we learn that being a ghost means you face the trauma of remembering your own death. Imagine that: After you witness your own dead body, your consciousness lingers but you can't be seen (not until you "figure out a way," as one of Bly's ghosts says), not touched nor heard. Then you're "tucked away" in a cycle of memories, reliving each moment and painfully realizing how flawed and fleeting your connections with your loved ones were.

As a ghost trapped at Bly, you slowly lose your face as those who loved and remembered you leave you behind. And when all others forget you, you forget yourself.

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