Eve Caleigh has a telepathic connection with her 5 year old son Cam though this is lost when he suddenly disappears. A year later, in line with husband Gabe's new job the family - daughters Cally and...
Though all the family have seen ghostly evidence Eve persuades them to stay a little longer to locate Cam. She visits Percy and learns the orphans drowned because the hall was built over a river but ...
Lili tells Eve that she has heard through Cribben that Cam has drowned and, after a child's body is dragged from a canal, Gabe goes to London to identify it. Lili meanwhile visits Magda, now old but ...
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Iain De Caestecker
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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 Caleighs find their son?Written by
Opens well, but disintegrates slightly over the course of three episodes
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
Gabe (Tom Ellis) and Eve Caleigh (Suranne Jones) re-locate to the West Country from London a year after the disappearance of their son. They set up home in Crickley Hall, an old residence that used to be a boarding house for evacuees during the war. But it is this fact that holds the secret behind some ghostly hauntings, and a terrifying truth behind what now possesses them.
It seems that in the case of a fairly lengthy novel, the format best favoured in many cases for adaptation is to turn it in to a serial drama rather than go all out and just make a feature length adaptation, which may test the viewer's endurance. But Joe Ahearne's approach, with his adaptation of James Herbert's The Secret of Crickley Hall, somehow manages to do this anyway, over the course of three episodes shown over three weeks.
There's no doubt the first part opens well, establishing an effective atmosphere and air of suspense, which even someone who's already read the novel and pretty much knows what is going to happen can see. But somehow, even by the second episode that AOS doesn't feel as strong. Spacing each episode out over the course of a week probably doesn't help, dragging it out too long and doing the opposite of keeping you in suspense. Aside from this, certain segments inevitably get lost in translation going from novel to film, and the constraints of being a TV film inevitably creep through. I said 'inevitably' twice in that sentence, and that's sadly what an adaptation of a novel is always going to be: an inevitability. Something that is doomed not to be as good as it's source material from the start, even if it has a bigger budget and goes to theatres, where I think this may have worked better.
The performances are probably the best thing in it. Jones shows promise she may be more than another ex Corrie actress, avoiding a future in panto or cheap reality shows, showing an emotional intensity and depth as a mother wrapped up in guilt for the loss of her boy. Ellis isn't bad, but somehow isn't quite as good, except in certain scenes where his character really gets dealt a heavy blow. Douglas Henshall has an undeniable presence as the villain, but his accent is so thick it's sometimes really hard to understand what he's saying. He's at his most unnerving in quieter, more subtle moments, like when he's holding the little boy over the well or is nearly caught whacking him with a cane in his private room.
It's all too well made and sincere to even verge in to Sunday Night territory, and even Herbert himself said he thought it was pretty good. If only the whole thing had stuck together more solidly, and not come off so naff compared to the book. ***
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