I'm a fan of author Robert Aickman, who created some very unsettling ghost stories during the middle of the 20th century. This ten-minute short sees Mark Gatiss in an adaptation of one of those, about a man visiting an ancient cathedral and meeting some decidedly odd characters.
I'm familiar with Gatiss for his work in other old-fashioned genre fare (THE CROOKED HOUSE and FIRST MEN IN THE MOON), but this is very much a pointless exercise. The story feels too constrained by the running time, and the events are played for laughs rather than sinister effect. The result is a story that's quirky and odd, but never frightening or in the least bit disturbing.
There's no faulting Gatiss or the enthusiasm for bringing a nowadays obscure writer to life, but that's no guarantee of success - and THE CICERONES can in no way be described as a successful short film.
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