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Whistle and I'll Come to You (2010)

TV Movie  -   -  Horror  -  24 December 2010 (UK)
6.5
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After placing his ailing wife Alice in a care home elderly academic James Parkin goes to stay at a wintry out-of-season hotel which they used to visit together. Walking on a deserted beach ... See full summary »

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Title: Whistle and I'll Come to You (TV Movie 2010)

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Alice Parkin
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Hetty
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Carol
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After placing his ailing wife Alice in a care home elderly academic James Parkin goes to stay at a wintry out-of-season hotel which they used to visit together. Walking on a deserted beach he finds a ring with a Latin inscription,which translates as Who Is This Who Is Coming. He takes the ring back to the hotel but at night he hears loud banging on his door,even though he is the sole guest,as well as seeing a white-clad apparition on the beach.He is seemingly the victim of ghostly revenge - but who is the avenger? Written by don @ minifie-1

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24 December 2010 (UK)  »

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Whistle while you hurt...
9 January 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It's many years since I read the M.R. James ghost story from which this production was adapted and so my familiarity with it has faded. I could only approach it then on its own merits whilst obviously recognising that the story had been relocated to the present-day. As such, whilst I did get caught up, to some extent, in the events which overtake John Hurt, who having just put his senile dementia-suffering wife into a care home, revisits, as he himself puts it, an old haunt of theirs, the story just had too many ambiguities to really leave me anything more than puzzled by the end.

I found myself trying too hard to put together the relative significance of the various constituents of the plot devices employed, like the ring Hurt finds on the beach, the vaguely menacing statuette which sits in his boarding house room and the appearance of the apparition on the beach. No doubt the director's aim was to make manifest the inner turmoil of Hurt's character, haunted by the guilt of abandoning his wife's care to others and his own inner wish to be reunited with her, but I wasn't fully convinced that such a sane-seeming individual as Hurt would succumb to his demons as actually takes place.

That said, the climactic scene itself did bring up the hackles on my neck, with it's effective use of close editing and background music, but for me, I couldn't afterwards tie up the loose ends as I felt I should.

It's also been a while since I saw John Hurt in a TV role and nowadays his lived-in face is perfect for an anguished role like this. The rest of the cast is minimal in number, pointing up his isolation. The unnatural eeriness of him walking a deserted beach in broad day-light and being completely alone in the boarding house seems a little unnatural however and stretches credulity. The direction too is a little slow and grey and fails to convey Hurt's dread until the very end.

A production then which for me lost something in the updating, and couldn't withstand the superimposition of modern-day post-traumatic psychology onto the source material of a hoary old Victorian ghost-story.


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