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A supernatural drama telling the story of three different families living in the same house in 1968, 1987 and the present day, linked by the spirit of the young daughter of the 1960s family, who drowned in mysterious circumstances.
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2012; Nearly a year after their son goes missing, Londoners Gabe and Eve Caleigh and their two daughters move to Crickley Hall. Gabe hopes a few months away from the city, will help his family heal. But it soon becomes apparent, their new home is haunted. 1943; Crickley Hall is an orphanage run by Augustus Cribben and his sister Magda. The orphans live in terror of the Cribbens, especially Augustus whose brutality knows no bounds. Nancy, the children's new tutor, is appalled by the abuse and determined to find a way to save them... Can these dark secrets of the past help the Caleigh's find their son? Written by
I like a good ghost story and this BBC dramatisation of a James Herbert novel (which I've not read) made for entertaining if far-fetched viewing. Spread over three hour-long episodes, I imagine gave the serial time to stay closer to the novel and to be fair I didn't notice a lot of unnecessary padding.
Set in two different time-frames, one set in the present day with a young family trying to get over the apparent loss of their beloved young son, the other telling the more interesting story of a sadistic brother and child-abusing sister who run an oxymoronic "safe home" for young evacuee children during the Second World War, whose methods are challenged by a game young teacher who comes into their employ. The two stories converge when the modern family unaccountably pick the spookiest house in the country to recuperate from their loss, with the mother and her two other young children apparently seeing and hearing the presence of the young children murdered 70 years ago and the former believing that the ghosts might be able to contact her missing son.
As I've indicated, it's probably best to pop a few massive coincidence pills in before watching and while some confusion inevitably enters the narrative, it coheres well enough to engage me through three Sundays in a row. The actors put the hokum across pretty well as a group with special mention going to Olivia Cooke as Nancy Linnet, the defiant young teacher who braves the dastardly brother and sister at risk of her own career and indeed life. Douglas Henshall also makes for a creepy "Whacko" villain, who fetishistically notes down every beating he gives out and demands one more victim in return for the one that got away.
The special effects were okay, more about suggestion which is usually the best way in programmes like this with no cliché unturned (subjective camera shots, pouring rain, dark sets, voluminous background music at key moments) and of course there's an impossible rescue of the daughter by her father, but if you're watching this as a study in realism then think again.
I've watched more realistic and scarier ghost stories than this but this twin-spook story engaged me reasonably even if at no stage was I tempted to hide behind my sofa or even peek through my fingers at any point during it.
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