I just binged The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, so I am knee-deep in Haunting brain rot. Despite both seasons being a story revolving around a haunted house, the two couldn’t be more different. Each take a different approach to horror. But who does it better: Hill House or Bly Manor?
The Haunting of Hill House
Hill House is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. It’s a psychological horror story filled with tension and delightful jump scares.
The story follows the Crain family and is told during two timelines: one when the Crains are children and living in Hill House and the other when the Crains are adults and the horrors of the house have returned. Each episode offers a new piece of the puzzle that is the mystery of what happened to their mother in Hill House all those years ago.
This season really goes for that classic haunted house horror story. I would describe it as The Conjuring meets The Umbrella Academy. I love stories about dysfunctional families brought together by tragedy and a problem they need to solve. My favorite character is Theo Crain, resident lesbian (no surprise).
I absolutely devoured this show and loved every second of it. I was scared and thrilled and awed. 10/10, would watch again.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Bly Manor is based on the novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. It’s an all-new story with all-new characters (though a few of the actors from Hill House are in this season as well a la American Horror Story). It’s a gothic horror story with few jump scares and a slow payoff. But the overall emotional impact is one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen.
The story follows a young au pair who gets a job at Bly Manor to take care of two orphan children. But Bly Manor is haunted by the past, the specter of the previous au pair and her boyfriend hanging over the Wingraves and the house staff. And history may be repeating itself.
I felt that I didn’t fall in love with these characters the way I did the Crains until I got to the last episode and realized how much they actually mean to me. I really enjoyed the romance between Dani and Jamie, both lesbians. Moreover, the last episode had me sobbing like a baby. Only a few shows and books have made me cry like that and this makes three.
While watching this show, I found myself bored a few times. But once I got the overall picture and the absolute gut punch that is the last fifteen minutes, I gained a new appreciate for it. 10/10, would watch again.
So Which Season is Superior?
Both? Neither? They both have aspects about them that I love. So I think I have to declare this thunderdome throwdown a tie. Sorry if that’s disappointing. I just think you should watch both seasons of Haunting and join me in the brain rot. It is spooky season, after all.
Have you seen The Haunting of Hill House and/or Bly Manor? What did you think? Do you have a favorite season? Let’s discuss in the comments!