Spoiler-Free Review of “The Haunting of Bly Manor” on Netflix: Perfectly Splendid

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Everything yields to time…even the soul.”

The Haunting of Bly Manor is the second season of The Haunting of Hill House horror anthology series. Based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, the second season takes a fresh take on the classic ghost story. The Haunting of Bly Manor stars Victoria Pedretti, T’Nia Miller, Tahirah Sharif, Amelia Eve, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Carla Gugino. The second season premiered on October 9th 2020 with nine episodes (approximately 55 minutes in length).

Dani is looking for a fresh start in London and comes across an ad for a live-in governess position at Bly Manor. Upon her arrival, she quickly discovers that there is a mystery surrounding the property, endangering the lives of the children as well as her own.

Here is the trailer:

The Haunting of Bly Manor has the potential to take this ghost story to the next level, but after the disappointing 2020 film, The Turning, it may need to do a lot more to keep its audience invested. Does The Haunting of Bly Manor live up to the welcomed scares of the first season? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Haunting of Bly Manor Dani 2

Images courtesy of Netflix

Chilling and intense scares.

I wouldn’t say that the second season scared me as much as the first one, but it was a different kind of fear building throughout the episodes. It was more of an unrelenting chill that wedged itself deep within my bones. While it was a different approach, the fear was real and there were some genuinely scary moments sprinkled in that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The Haunting of Bly Manor Rebecca

Images courtesy of Netflix

Incredible characters.

You will recognize some familiar faces in season two as many of the actors from the first season returned to reprise different roles, which was a lot of fun. Some of the newcomers were absolutely brilliant as well and I have to say that the characters all had so much depth.

I think that the women really stood out for me in the second season. Each character flashback or reveal was so powerful and it really helped me connect even more to the characters.

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Images courtesy of Netflix

Reveals that are worth the wait.

Each puzzle piece was threaded together with perfect execution. As soon as I thought I had something figured out, I was thrown for a loop. The slow burn build was extremely rewarding and well worth the wait. Even though the episodes were on the long side, I was completely mesmerized by every single scene.

The Cons:

The Haunting of Bly Manor Carla Gugino

Images courtesy of Netflix

I really don’t have one con to list. The only thing I will mention is that this may be more of a beautiful piece of gothic romance rather than a true ghost story. However, I thought that worked perfectly. What I witnessed transcended the need to classify this show to a specific genre. The presence of a storyteller really allowed the classic words to come alive across the screen while bringing in new elements to the story.

So am I in or out?

The Haunting of Bly Manor Dani

Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in 1000 percent!!!!!!

This may be the best show I have watched all year. I thought that everything was executed perfectly. This show struck me to my core. I laughed, I cried, and I found myself beyond connected to all of these characters. There is something to be said about a piece of work that can resonate with you that much even after it’s over.

Perfectly splendid and then some!!!!!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Haunting of Bly Manor in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Locke & Key” on Netflix: Unlocking the Door to your Next Binge-Watch

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

A dark, magical adventure filled with heart, leading us past our imagination with some worthy evil threats thrown into the mix.

Locke & Key premiered on Netflix on February 7th 2020 with 10 new episodes (40-45 minutes in length). It stars Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Darby Stanchfield, and Laysla De Oliveira.

The show is based on the graphic novel series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez. After the tragic death of their father, three siblings move into his old mansion with their mother, unlocking past secrets and discovering some magical keys that light the way to their new potential destiny. However, there is an evil lingering inside the well of Keyhouse that threatens them all.

This is not the first time we have seen a plot like this and there are a lot of similarities to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Haunting of Hill House, and Stranger Things. That being said, I absolutely love all three of those, so I welcomed this familiar plot with open arms.

However, does Locke & Key unlock its way to its own identity? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Locke and Key Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

The Locke siblings are the heart of the show.

I loved the family aspect of The Haunting of Hill House and we get a young adult friendly version of that in Locke & Key. The relationship between the siblings is heartwarming and believable. All three of these characters are absolutely fantastic and you almost feel like you are a part of their family. The performances are well done and the family drama isn’t overly exaggerated.

Locke and Key Netflix 8
Images courtesy of Netflix

The mystery is intriguing and entertaining.

From the very first episode, we get a sneak peek of what’s to come for the Locke family, as they explore Keyhouse with brand new eyes. The house is breathtaking, but the Locke siblings quickly discover that there are more secrets hidden within the walls of their father’s old home.

Locke and Key Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

Evil looks good on our Villainess.

The villain in this series is beyond entertaining. She’s absolutely fantastic and will lure you over to the dark side for sure. She is cunning, powerful, and mysterious, as the Locke siblings are forced to really think outside the box to stop her, but do not underestimate her for one second. I love a good Villainess and Dodge  or “Well Lady” certainly exceeded my expectations.

The Cons:

Locke and Key Netflix 7
Images courtesy of Netflix

The rest of the characters fade into the background.

Unlike Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which has an endless amount of extraordinary characters, the rest of the group in Locke & Key are just kind of okay and very forgettable. Even Mrs. Locke seemed all over the place and I almost felt like they didn’t really know what to do with her character.

I did enjoy Scot the most out of the friend characters, who had the most adorable nickname for our girl Kinsey, Rocky Road, but the supporting characters seemed underdeveloped and uninspiring. That being said, the Locke siblings and Dodge certainly made up for that and stole the show.

Some plot holes and unanswered questions.

I wouldn’t say that this was a major con, but I found myself asking more questions about the keys and where they came from. A lot of things are explained in the end and we are left with a major cliffhanger, so I’m hoping for some more background information if we get a second season.

So am I in or out?

Locke and Key Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! This series was so much fun and I watched it all in one day. It has a lot of heart and so many twists and turns that will keep you thoroughly invested throughout the show.

While it may not be the next Stranger Things, it doesn’t have to be. Locke & Key creates its own separate identity and has the potential to become my new favorite show with possible future seasons. Now about my key…

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Locke & Key in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Marianne” on Netflix: Bone-Chilling Terror that will give you Nightmares and then some

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Netflix has been bringing us some genuinely terrifying programming lately like The Ritual and The Haunting of Hill House, and it doesn’t look like they are stopping there, as they may have just released the scariest show I have seen in a while.  If you enjoy films and shows about witches and demonic possession, you are in the right place.

Marianne is a French horror series that was released on Netflix on 9/13/19.  The show features 8 episodes that are about 50-55 minutes in length each.  It stars Victoire Du Bois, Lucie Boujenah, and Tiphaine Daviot.  The series is in French, but you can watch it dubbed in English or in French with English subtitles.  I watched it in English and was able to get through the whole show without needing to switch over to subtitles.

The show follows author, Emma, who has had much success with her horror novel series.  The characters are based on nightmares Emma had when she was younger and when she finishes the book series, she begins to realize that the characters may actually exist in the real world, threatening her family and close friends, while desperately trying to release some kind of evil entity into the world. 

Whatever you do, be careful about saying Marianne’s name three times…you have been warned!

The Pros:

Marianne 9 22 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

This show will scare you enough to leave you with some serious nightmares.

I’m not talking about the typical jump scares we often see.  I’m talking about truly frightening moments.  There is a terrific build-up and suspense that seamlessly brings these moments to life.  The soundtrack works perfectly with these moments and you may want to consider watching this show with the lights on if you are not a fan of horror.  Seriously, I keep looking over my shoulder and I finished the show hours ago.

Terrifying characters and a well developed plot.

Before we even get to Marianne, you will notice a lot of discussion going on about the old woman she possesses.  I have to hand it to this actress, who has just completely traumatized me for life!

The plot moves fairly quickly, but once you get past the first three episodes, the rest of the show flies by, as it introduces more pieces to the puzzle, luring you in so much, that you may want to ensure that Marianne is not nearby.  The imagery is beautiful and I loved the concept of the pages from Emma’s book series appearing on screen.

The Cons:

Marianne 9 22 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

The switching of genres is slightly jarring.

As Emma returns home, we get a lot of fluff involving some drama with her friends and family that I could have honestly done without.  While some of the past flashbacks and revelations were necessary and interesting, other parts just kind of seemed forced and I almost felt like I started watching another show without realizing it.

I think part of the problem was that I didn’t really care that much about Emma’s group of friends.  There were some redeeming moments here and there, but other moments just felt filler and boring.

There was also the introduction of some comedy thrown in that felt out of place.  This sometimes made the show move slower and I’m still not really sure what the point of this was.  Luckily, the terrifying moments and plot reveals were enough to overshadow this.

So am I in or out? 

Marianne 9 22 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I am in!  Sure, I may have nightmares for quite a while, but this show was genuinely frightening and unique.  We are left with a cliffhanger ending, so hopefully we will get a second season, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this show.

If you are a fan of horror, you will absolutely be entertained and the writer in me loved the idea of characters coming to life, really reminding us that words certainly have a lot of power and we can unleash anything we want.  Although we may want to slam the book shut on Marianne…

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Marianne in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

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Ranking my top television shows of 2018 on Netflix: Binge-watching throughout the year!

Greetings TV Fans!  While I have not gotten a chance to binge-watch every show on Netflix, I did have time to catch up on quite a few series from 2018 while I anxiously wait for new episodes to return.  While some old favorites of mine didn’t quite make the cut with their new seasons, other new series pleasantly surprised me.  Netflix has done a good job of successfully providing me with the binge-watching we all crave once in a while with its lineup.  Who am I kidding…all the time! 

My top television shows streaming on Netflix for 2018 are:

5. 13 Reasons Why (season 2)

4. Orange Is the New Black (season 6)

3. Ozark (season 2)

2. The Haunting of Hill House

1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

While I am a devoted fan to 13 Reasons Why and OITNB, I was absolutely loving Netflix’s addition of some horror television series this past year.  The Haunting of Hill House was not loved by all, but I thought that it combined the perfect amount of bone-chilling moments with heartwarming ones.  My absolute favorite series on Netflix for the past year has to go to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which was deliciously dark with just the right amount of Riverdale pop mixed in.  I was also impressed with Ozark season 2, which had me hooked even more than season 1!

Honorable mentions:

Daredevil (season 3)

Tidelands

While nothing will compare to season 1 of Daredevil for me, I was impressed with season 3.  While it was slow moving in the beginning, it really picked up steam halfway through and allowed us to finally explore Karen Page’s character further, while also introducing us to a formidable villain.  Tidelands is your new guilty pleasure.  Trust me.  Sure, it may be filled with unnecessary fluff, but it’s the perfect weekend escape if you are looking for something light, sexy, and fun!

Disappointments:

Jessica Jones (season 2)

Insatiable

I absolutely loved the first season of Jessica Jones and I was very disappointed with season 2.  The entire season was slow moving for me and I am not sure if I can continue watching for season 3, but I will try and give it a chance.  I was also so excited to watch Insatiable, especially because I am a huge Alyssa Milano fan, but I found that the plot was all over the place.  The show had the potential to become a new cult classic, but it almost seemed unsure of its direction.  I will give season 2 a chance, but I’m looking for something that actually captures the dark humor that I crave.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own comments and thoughts about your favorite television shows on Netflix from 2018.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

My Whizbuzz Book Page

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

Want to read more?  You can click the link directly below for a free preview.  Thanks for your support!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Cover

 

 

5 Spoiler Free Reasons why you should watch “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix: A Worthy Horror Series filled with Bone-Chilling Moments

“I am home.”  But what if you share your home with ghosts and spirits?  I’m not talking about Casper here, but potentially dangerous and manipulative spirits that can haunt you for the rest of your life.  The Netflix series is based on the book by Shirley Jackson, which was also the inspiration for the film, The Haunting.  There were two versions of the film in 1963 and in 1999 as well.  The Netflix series follows a family who grew up at Hill House and flashes between the past and the present, unraveling the mysteries there.  Each member of the Crain family encounters something different, but they are all connected to the house in one way or another.  They desperately try to overcome their terrifying and traumatic past, as new obstacles and threats continue to surface in their present.

The show features 10 episodes and they are all currently streaming on Netflix as of October 12th 2018.  After watching all of the episodes in one weekend, I can tell you that the series was a pleasant surprise.  There were absolutely terrifying moments that will have you going to sleep with the lights on for weeks to come and other moments that were so incredibly heartwarming and unpredictable.  The show somehow successfully blends family drama in with genuine horror, giving me almost a Brothers and Sisters vibe, while continuing to provide me with frightening moments.  The acting is absolutely incredible and the writing and dialogue is somehow poetic, luring you in to Hill House completely.  Please note that major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.  My top 5 reasons to check out The Haunting of Hill House are: 

5

This show is genuinely scary. 

I’m not talking about the typical jump scares that almost seem unnecessary and essentially become predictable, as you can almost count down to the next moment that is meant to make you pop out of your seat.  The scares on this show are not forced and they seamlessly connect with the rest of the plot, which make them that much more terrifying in my opinion.  You may have nightmares about “The Bent-Neck Lady” like me, but the show will continue to provide you with worthy bone-chilling moments up until the very end.  I found myself needing to watch the show with all the lights on, even during the day.  It’s seriously that scary and even if you don’t scare easily, you will appreciate the way these terrifying moments emerge.

4

Something different.

While some fans have been apprehensive about the series following a different plot, this works to the show’s advantage.  It allows us to be presented with an entirely unique mystery in familiar territory and branches out further to form its own identity, separate from the novel and the films.  If you are looking for just another remake of the films, this is not the show for you, but I would encourage you to give it a try anyway because it is well worth the watch.

3

Episodes 3, 5, and 9.

While all of the episodes were brilliantly done, these three were absolutely incredible.  I will not spoil anything for you, but I would definitely recommend giving these three episodes your undivided attention.  While important plot points are learned during these three episodes, there is something so incredibly magnetic about them.  I found myself completely lost in the story during these three episodes in particular, unaware of anything else going on around me.  That’s how good they are.  Make sure you have your popcorn ready in advance!

2

The cast.

I was initially overwhelmed by the large size of the Crain Family.  We meet Hugh and Olivia Crain, played by Timothy Hutton and Carla Gugino, and their children:  Steven, Shirley, Theo, Luke, and Nell.  The show flashes back between past and present quite frequently and everyone in the cast was absolutely terrific.  I give standout performances to Carla Gugino, Kate Siegel (older Theo), and Elizabeth Reaser (older Shirley), but truly everyone was amazing.  You really believed that they were all family and found yourself connected to each and every one of them as the episodes continued.

1

The family drama works.

Part of what made me enjoy this show so much was the fact that I was completely connected to the characters.  I wasn’t willing to part with any character and I found myself rooting for them more than I normally would when watching a horror film.  The show does an excellent job of combining the terrifying and unexplained moments with the horror we deal with in everyday life.  I’m talking about unspeakable crimes that are committed, grief that we need to endure, addiction, and guilt that will eat us up from the inside if we let it.  The show seamlessly blends the supernatural horrors with these very real ones, connecting us that much more to the characters and the story.  While I initially thought that perhaps the show might have been better suited as a film, I quickly realized that this is not the case.  You would lose out on the connection to these characters and the mystery unravels in perfect tempo, leading up to a satisfying crescendo at the end.  While the series is not your average horror movie, it elevates to something more powerful and resonating.  You won’t be disappointed.  Ready to watch?

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

My Whizbuzz Book Page

Stay up to date on upcoming premieres of horror TV series @ 12nightsofhorror.com/horror-series-coming-soon

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

Want to read more?  You can click the link directly below for a free preview.  Thanks for your support!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice is available here!

The Search for Alice Cover