It seems that television networks are increasingly turning to the horror genre for fresh ideas. And there have been plenty of successes from The Walking Dead, brimming with zombies, to True Blood and its hoards of vampires.
But the UK has been lagging behind a little and there has been a distinct lack of programmes of the spooky variety. Which is why the arrival of The Enfield Haunting was so welcome.
The three part mini series is based on true events, something that is a common claim by most paranormal films nowadays. But speaking as one of those that had heard of the Enfield poltergeist before production of the series began, I was very keen to see how the story would be translated to screen.
The incident was one of the first well documented parapsychological events in the UK. When unusual things began to happen in a very ordinary working class home in suburban Enfield, all manner of weird phenomena were recorded from photos to voice recordings – all of which were terrifying.
The Killing’s Kristoffer Nyholm directs this made for TV drama which uses the evidence from the 1977 investigation, and Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall play Guy Lyon Playfair and Maurice Grosse, paranormal investigators that try to help the Harper family with their unusual problem.
As the mother and her four children are menaced by an unseen force, Grosse and Playfair struggle to rationalise the amazing happenings and soon find themselves facing a truly dangerous and unstoppable advisary.
The Enfield Haunting is everything that you could hope for. It’s more chilling than anything that’s appeared on network television for some time and echoes the infamous eighties drama/faux documentary Ghostwatch which I believe took some influence from the original Enfield case too.
Spall and Macfadyen are a powerful on screen duo and draw the viewer’s attention effortlessly, making their characters as three dimensional as the all engulfing evil presence in the house.
No attention to detail is spared as the nostalgic seventies tones transport you right back to days gone by. And the creepy scenes are shot with impact, guaranteeing jumps, goosebumps and fear.
Many of the tricks and tropes used are rarely seen outside of horror cinema. In The Enfield Haunting they have been applied with expertise to create a very involved experience that plays on the viewer’s imagination and leaves them hungry for more.
Episode one starts at high velocity so one can only hope that the remaining two are equally as eventful. For the first time in a long time, I’m really looking forward to a night in front of the TV on a Saturday.
The Enfield Haunting is on Sky Living HD on Saturday at 10PM.