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‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’: How Season 2 Differs From ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

Since Netflix‘s release of The Haunting of Hill House in October 2018, fans have waited eagerly for Mike Flanagan’s next installment. The Haunting of Bly Manor is finally here, and fans have started to compare and contrast seasons 1 and 2. This is the biggest difference between The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.]

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ share one thing in common 

Fans of the horror genre know that people, places, and even things can be haunted. The stories told in The Haunting series differ greatly in theme. Still, at their core, they are scary stories that tell of these haunts. 

“At its foundation, The Haunting series is very much about haunted spaces and haunted people,” showrunner Mike Flanagan told Vanity Fair.

These elements may interact differently in Bly Manor than they did in Hill House, but fans will recognize their familiar presence. “The way we make those things dance together is really going to be what’s uniform about Hill House and Bly,” Flanagan added. 

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is about childhood trauma, grief, and loss 

In season 1 of Flanagan’s anthology series, fans learned the story of the Crain family. Reimagined from Shirley Jackson’s work of the same name, each character must face the tragic loss of the family matriarch, played by Carla Gugino. 

As Flanagan approached season 2, he knew how important it was not to “play the same notes” from season 1. “The first season is very much entrenched in family dynamics and death and grief and loss and child trauma,” he said. “We all collectively felt like we’d said everything we wanted to say about that.”

With The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan wanted to take a different approach. He had to draw the line between the stories, especially using some of the same actors. 

‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ features some of the cast from ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ 

Season 1 of The Haunting featured a star-studded cast that included versions of the Crain family as adults and children.

Many of the cast returned to star in The Haunting of Bly Manor, including Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Victoria Pedretti. Another actor from season 1 stars in Bly Manor, but their identity is being kept secret. 

Victoria Pedretti’s role is the biggest difference between ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ 

In Hill House, Pedretti played the tormented Nell, who harbored darkness from the Crain’s childhood home. In Bly Manor, Pedretti becomes Dani Clayton, a light-hearted young woman who strives to do right by everyone she meets. 

“Victoria and I talked at the very beginning about how to differentiate this character from Nell,” Flanagan explained. “Nell was a character that carried around a ton of darkness with her and never quite got out of the shadows that she was introduced in when we see her as a child.” 

But with Bly Manor, everything is brighter — including Pedretti’s role. “Between the setting in the ’80s, and this idea of a young American abroad, just out on an adventure,” Flanagan explained. “It brightened everything up, to begin with.” That brightness gave Pedretti more room to differentiate Dani from her previous role as Nell, or the “Bent-Neck Lady.” 

Stream The Haunting of Bly Manor now.

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