When I was given the opportunity to review the first episode of a brand new supernatural drama airing on BBC One and Netflix I jumped at the chance and after finishing the first hour of Requiem I can’t wait for the rest to be broadcast.
Written and created by Kris Mrksa and directed by Mahalia Belo the series, which runs for 6 60 minute episodes starting 2nd of February, tells a chilling tale of secrets, lies, child abduction and mysterious suicides all linked to otherworldly interference.
Opening in a grand but foreboding mansion in Wales we watch an old man besieged by unnatural noises which provoke him to frantically smash every mirror in his unwelcoming abode. The next thing we see is him atop the building before he throws himself off much to the shock and distress of a workman who witnesses it while driving up to the residence.
By the way all this is before the credits have even rolled.
Cutting to London the main story follows Matilda Gray (Lydia Wilson from Star Trek: Beyond and Black Mirror) a talented cello player who has found a modicum of fame in a classical duo with her friend Hal (Game of Thrones Joel Fry) and who has not only a big gig on the horizon but a move to New York and plenty more plans.
Her biggest fan is her Mum Janice (Joanna Scanlan) who she loves deeply but has lied to about the upcoming American tour and more. Feeling guilty Matilda is shocked when her Mother arrives outside the venue she is playing and starts acting strangely, leaving abruptly and disappearing in to the bustling South Bank crowds.
Worried and unnerved by her Mum’s odd actions Matilda follows her to a car park where she watches helpless and horrified as she slits her own throat in front of her daughter. Confused and shocked by this disturbing suicide she becomes even more upset when she discovers her Mum was on anti-depressants for persistent anxiety, something the police blame for the unexpected and brutal incident.
Refusing to believe this random and senseless suicide Matilda is drawn to the idea that there is something more going on, a theory fleshed out when she finds a box of weird photos at her Mum’s home of the Welsh house from the opening and press clippings from 1994 detailing a toddlers disappearance from the very same small village.
Haunted by her mother’s death and plagued by reoccurring nightmares, with everything around her in freefall Matilda is determined to make her past and present make sense so with Hal in tow she heads for the Welsh village. But what awaits her is like nothing she could ever imagine.
Well filmed with many dream like sequences and surreal shots Requiem may be slow moving but takes its time to build a huge amount of tension in the audience all of which spills over at the end of the first episode which contains a killer twist.
With a great soundtrack what makes the opening hour so creepy is the eerie noises that seem to torment several of the main characters. Filled with childlike singing, horrible animalistic grunts and abnormal sounds these moments work best by not showing what is responsible causing even more dread in the viewer at what they might see further along the series.
As the teaser for episode two promises Matilda is in for a dark and dangerous journey which will see her stalked by an unknown entity and questioning her own sanity all in the desperate attempt to find out the truth about her family and what is happening.
Perfect for those who prefer atmosphere and tension over guts and gore after this first look, with its excellent performances and intriguing storyline, Requiem seems to promise to be a nerve wracking supernatural drama series that will keep you guessing throughout.
Requiem begins on Feb 2nd on BBC One with the whole series being made available on BBC iPlayer and a few weeks later on Netflix worldwide.