Bly Manor is bringing the scares to Netflix this Halloween season.
Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor is as much a ghost story as it is a sweeping, gothic romance, which means that its scares are a healthy blend of jump-out-of-your-skin spooks and slowly escalating moments of dread that change and evolve over the course of the show.
That, and there are plenty of hidden ghosts to find that add a whole other layer of terror to the experience of watching the show. But for the sake of this breakdown, we’re going to focus on the moments that are a little easier to find.
Of course, these scares are going to include spoilers from the show, so if you haven’t finished, you’ll want to turn around and come back later.
We went through all 9 episodes of the Hill House follow-up and made note of everything that made our skin crawl, our hearts break, or the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up and, after a lengthy process of elimination and debate, came up with the 15 scariest moments in Bly. Which moments terrified you the most? Let us know in the comments what you thought of the show.
1.) Episode 1: Dani gets trapped in the closet
There’s nothing quite as terrifying as being punked by very haunted children in a horror movie, and Bly Manor understands that in its bones. The first episode of the show culminates with Miles and Flora playing an inexplicable “prank,” with obvious ulterior motives, on Dani–locking her in Flora’s walk-in closet and refusing to let her out even as she begins to panic.
2.) Episode 1: The mirror man
Less a single moment and more a recurring theme through the entire first episode, Dani is stalked through her life–and any reflective surfaces–by a mysterious ghost who only seems to pop up at the most inconvenient times. Dani has apparently adapted her life to his presence, throwing blankets over any reflective surface so that she won’t be able to see him, but the fact that he’s there at all is horrifying.
3.) Episode 2: The thing in the attic
This was a moment in the earliest teasers for the show and it’s no wonder why–the fact that there’s a shambling, wheezing monster in the Bly Manor attic and that Flora is apparently so unbothered by it she just tells it to be quiet is a one-two punch. This moment makes our skin crawl.
4.) Episode 2: Miles chokes Dani
In case you missed the part where these kids are extremely creepy, Miles nearly takes a game of hide and seek too far by putting Dani in a choke hold, and refuses to let up even as Dani starts to panic. It’s obvious foreshadowing for a major reveal later in the season, but even isolated from that context it’s extremely ominous–these kids are not alright.
5.) Episode 3: Dani’s in bed with a ghost
By Episode 3, the man in the mirror is starting to become a serious problem for Dani and it all starts with him showing up in Dani’s bed as a bruised and battered hand, reaching out to her across the covers.
6.) Episode 3: The mirror man no more
Episode 3 ends on a major jump-scare as Dani turns around to head back to the manor and is confronted with the mirror man, no longer confined to a reflection, standing and waiting for her. To make things worse, he never speaks or even makes a move to grab her, he just stands there and it’s absolutely chilling.
7.) Episode 4: The accident
This one is less a spooky ghost moment and more a horrific tragedy. Learning what happened to Dani’s ex-fiance made our stomachs churn.
8.) Episode 4: The kiss, interrupted
Even knowing who the mirror man is and what happened to him, he’s still a terrifying presence in Dani’s life–especially when he suddenly shows up to interrupt her kiss with Jamie.
9.) Episode 5: Hannah’s wake-up call
Basically all of Episode 5 is chilling in its own way, with its disorientating cuts and skips through Hannah’s memories, but the moment that made us jump the most was Owen’s very abrupt wake-up call.
10.) Episode 6: The kid. Just, the kid.
Do we even need to explain this one at all? Come on.
11.) Episode 6: Ms. Jessel’s jump scare
While Bly Manor tends to avoid traditional jump scare moments, it does have a couple that it deploys to great effect–like this moment when Dani looks into Flora’s room to see Ms. Jessel sitting there with her. The audio stinger does most of the work here–those discordant strings are the absolute worst.
12.) Episode 7: Ms. Jessel drowns
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum is the slow burning moment where we see exactly what happened to Rebecca Jessel. It’s equal parts horrific and tragic, which makes it incredibly hard to watch.
13.) Episode 8: Perdita’s choice
Episode 8’s period setting makes it rife with all sorts of unusual and creepy moments, like seeing poor Viola subjected to some really awful “medical” practices like blood-letting and leeches, but the moment that takes the cake is Perdita’s “mercy” killing. Like Ms. Jessel’s murder, Viola’s death is agonizing to watch while also being completely heartbreaking.
14.) Episode 8: The romance of certain old clothes
If you’re a Henry James fan and noticed the title of this episode, this moment probably didn’t come as a massive surprise to you. It’s taken right out of the short story by the same name. Viola’s ghostly arms reaching out from her empty dress to strangle her sister to death is one of the more violent turns a James ghost has taken, and seeing it here in live action is insanely scary.
15.) Episode 9: The inescapable march
The real scare of Bly Manor’s final episode doesn’t come from any one moment, but the pervasive sense of dread and inevitability that looms over Dani and Jamie’s life together. It’s beautiful and happy, for a time, but even that happiness is clouded by the fact that Dani is eventually going to have to pay the price for her actions. So, when Viola’s reflection does begin haunting her, it makes for one of the most horrific moments of the show.