Sunday, 19 April 2009


I was only three when this film was televised, so I slip into the category of viewers who knew this was a hoax before they watched it. For most of the film, beyond my wishes, I found myself evaluating the validity of the actors' performances, and debating how someone could have thought this was real (the performances are pretty good, but there are certain exchanges that sway far more towards theatrical than realistic). However, halfway in, when the transmission starts becoming infrequent and begins cutting out, my skin started crawling. Even the knowledge that it was fictional couldn't suppress my nerves as the ghost manifested itself in more terrifying ways. The finale, with a possessed Michael Parkinson whispering a nursery rhyme into the camera, sends a lasting sensation through the viewers' minds, in spite of how amusing it sounds on paper.

As mentioned before, there are a few faults in the acting, but for the most part - especially during the scariest scenes where it counts most - it is utterly convincing and contributes to a rather shocking viewer experience. The visual quality of the "live" broadcast and the Crimewatchesque set-up of the studio lend the film just enough credibility to have some viewers forget that this was just a teleplay for the BBC, but this is exactly what sets it apart from other horror films and, in a way, makes it so much creepier. Nonetheless, I would recommend this with caution, given the recent climate for risible ghost programmes.

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