The Secret Of Crickley Hall REVIEW

The Secret Of Crickley Hall DVD review: Old-school chills from Mr Herbert

The gardener was a bit over-familiar.

2012 | 15 | 175 minutes | £12.99
Release Date: 3 December 2012
BBC Worldwide
Director: Joe Ahearne
Cast: Suranne Jones, Tom Ellis, Douglas Henshall, Maisie Williams, David Warner

There’s been a flood of Stephen King screen adaptations over the years, but the UK’s own literary horror master James Herbert has barely inspired up a trickle. However, that balance is finally being redressed a little, courtesy of this three-hour BBC adaptation of one of Herbert’s more recent blockbusters.

It’s another tale that proves how unwise it is to visit a spooky house in the country, especially for distraught mother Eve (Suranne Jones, from season six Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Wife”). A year after one of her children went missing, she and her family arrive at Crickley Hall for a two-month stay, but soon discover the building has a dark history and a collection of ghostly presences. Eve slowly becomes convinced that these ghosts hold the key to tracking down her child.

The story serves up plenty of old-fashioned horror storytelling as it flits between ‘40s-set flashbacks and the present day. Jones acts her heart out in the lead role, but there’s impressive work from the whole cast (including Game Of Thrones’s Maisie Williams, and a terrifying turn from Douglas Henshall).

Elsewhere, writer/director Joe Ahearne (Ultraviolet, Apparitions) pulls off some interesting structural games with his script, but outside the effective scare sequences his direction is a little uneven.

A story this harrowing shouldn’t feel quite so comfortable as The Secret Of Crickley Hall does at times, but while it might not be a mind-blowing addition to the haunted house genre, it’s still an enjoyable and respectable one.

Other than subtitles, not a sausage, sadly.

Saxon Bullock

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