The Secret of Crickley Hall (DVD)
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Review of "The Secret of Crickley Hall (DVD)"
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I had seen this advertised years ago when it first came out in 2012 but unfortunately, I never got around to watching it. I don't know what I was doing, probably something meaningless because I cannot remember. When I saw it on Netflix, I was pleasantly surprised and quickly added it to my list to watch. When I got the time, lunch break at work, I sat down at my desk with my chicken and veg and coffee and begun watching it. It seemed like a program that I would enjoy, ghosts, mystery and death. Right up my street, so I was surprised when I realised that it is simply more than just ghosts haunting a family.
Director: Joe Ahearne (Doctor Who)
Writer: Joe AhearneComposer: Dan Jones (Any Human Heart & Dead, Set)
Executive Producer: Jilary MartinProducer: Ann Harrison-Baxter
Cinematography: Peter GreenhaightEditor: Graham Walker
Suranne Jones: Eve Caleigh (Doctor Foster & Single Father)Tom Ellis: Gabe Caleigh (Lucifer & Miranda)
Maisie Williams: Loren Caleigh (Game of Thrones & Cyber Bully)Elliot Kerley: Cameron Caleigh
Pixie Davies: Cally Caleigh (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children & Humans)David Warner: Elderly Percy Judd (A Christmas Carol (1984) & Star Trek Franchise)
Nick Sidi: Reverend Andrew (Spooks & Ashes to Ashes)Paul Clayton: Publican (Law & Order: UK & Gambit)
Velile Tshabalala: Teacher (Kerching! & Doctor Who)Shannon Beer: Pupil
Susan Lynch: Lili Peel (Beautiful Creatures & From Hell)Donald Sumpter: Gordon Pyke (Game of Thrones & In The Heart of The Sea)
Annie Kelly: Elderly MagdaIan Burfield: DI Michael (Eastenders & The Bill)
Douglas Henshall: Augustus Cribben (Dorian Gray & Outlander)Sarah Smart: Magda Cribben (Silent Witness & A Touch of Frost)
Olivia Cooke: Nancy Linnet (Ouija & Bates Motel)Iain De Caestecker: Percy Judd (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & In Fear)
Bill Miner: Maurice Stafford (Son of Rambow & My Boy Jack)Kian Parsiani; Stefan Rosenbaum
Fern Deacon: Susan TrainerCraig Parkinson: Reverend Horace (Misfits & Whtiechaple)
Julia Ford: Irene Judd (Shameless & Frankie)John Sackville: Doctor Wilcox (The Crown)
Genre: Supernatural, DramaBased on the book by James Herbert
Country: UKLanguage: English
Seasons: 1Episodes: 3
Running Time: 59 minutesProduction Company: BBC Productions Salford
Released: November - December 2012
Set in two different times, we enter the series during World War II at Crickley Hall, which is being used to home orphans who have been evacuated from London. Young teacher Nancy joins the staff and soon notices disturbing events. The orphans must stay quiet throughout the day and Mr Cribben keeps to himself a lot. She begins to suspect that the orphans are being mistreated by Mr Cribben, especially young Polish refugee Stefan. When she tries to bring this up, she is quickly dismissed from her position but that doesn't stop her from trying to save the children along with the help of her new love, Percy. However, the consequences of her actions soon come to pass and soon the secrets of Crickley Hall are buried within the walls for future unsuspecting owners to relive.
Fast forward to 2006 where we meet the Caleigh family. Mother Eve and her son Cam have a special bond. They can feel each other and are deeply connected on a supernatural level. When Cam goes missing, the family is distraught, especially Eve who blames herself. Almost a year later, Father Gabe's work takes the family to Crickly Hall where weird occurrences begin to happen. Children laughing, strange appearances of people and an unsettling feeling that they are being watched. Eve is able to hear Cam again, something that she hasn't been able to do since he disappeared and soon, she sets on a path to figure out the secret of Crickley Hall and hopefully find Cam to make their family whole again.
The story is based in two different time periods that run along parallel to each other. One moment we are in 1943 and the next we are in 2006. I liked the story being set like this because we are able to see what 2006 is the way it is through looking at 1943 at the same time. I think this makes it easier for the audience to understand what is going on.
I thought that the story-line was very good. I found it interesting but difficult to watch. There is something about children or animals getting abused that I find difficult to watch on TV. I can handle people getting hacked to bits until the cows come home but there is something about abuse of children or animals that I don't like watching. Although it is not smack in your face, it is more in the sound and the noises. What you think might be happening, you don't need to see it but you know it is going on and that I found upsetting.I thought the story flowed well and was flowing at a good pace. There wasn't a time, I felt, that there was empty space that could have been filled or should have been taken out. Everything in this series blended well together and needed to be there.
I think this is your classic ghost-story. Some people may enjoy that and some people may not. There isn't anything in here that would set it apart from other ghost-stories but due to the acting and the atmosphere, I think that is what sets is apart from others.I did find it a bit odd that Eve and Cam seem to have this supernatural connection that everyone seemed to be okay with. No one questioned it or pulled them up on it. If my mother started babbling on about her having the same dreams as my brother and being able to hear him in her head, I would ask her if she wanted to talk to someone about her feelings.
Overall, I think it is a really good story. It flowed easy and it was easy for the audience to follow and understand. It had a eerie, old-century (even during the present time) tone which made it like a classic ghost-story.
I thought the characters and the actors performances were amazing. I think each and every one of them were able to capture their characters and hold them for the entire three episodes.
Jones played the grieving mother amazingly and I really felt for her during her upsetting scenes. There was a part of me that truly believed her as a mother who had just lost her child, holding onto that every hope that they are still alive even when the odds are against her. I liked her relationship with Gabe, they seemed to be a strong and loving couple.Ellis was believable as the father trying to keep his family together. Being the voice of reason and somewhat pandering to his wife's thoughts that their son is okay but unknowingly to outsiders, accepting the fact that their son is gone and is not coming back. There is one scene during the pair when Gabe literally shouts at Eve that their son is dead and she needs to accept it. I thought this was really believable in a marriage when a child is dead/gone missing. The wife clinging onto the hope that they are still alive with the husband trying to be strong and accepting it. His relationship with the children were nice, he seemed like the cool hip dad that is in touch with the kids of today.
The children, Williams and Kerley were good in their roles as well. Williams was fun to watch as I know her only from Game of Thrones and Kerley is so cute and naive. They play the classic children of a ghost story.Cooke was great in her role. I loved her character and the relationships that she had with the children and Percy. I was something that was nice to see. It was difficult to watch her trying to defend the children with everyone around her simply not believing that the amazing Cribbens would never do any harm to the children. I think she played the innocent, devoted teacher well.
The Cribbens made my skin crawl, especially Mr Cribben. Henshall did fantastic in this role. He was creepy and disturbing to watch. Whenever he was in screen, I felt chills because you knew something unsettling was going to happen. His sister was no exception. Smart played her role well too. Being the stern sister where her rules are the only rules. I think the two worked well together and on their own. They commanded the screen even after life.I really liked watching Sumpter and Warner in their roles as well. I felt for both of these characters and thought that they worked well with other members of the cast.
The remainder of the supporting characters were great as well.Overall, all the cast were brilliant in their roles. All believable and made the series entertaining and heart-felt to watch.
I cannot say much about the special effects because they weren't that special. If I am honest, I didn't think they were that great. It clearly was fake and the only time special effects were used was when you actually saw the ghosts in their apparition form which was your basic person but transparent. Nothing that would put someone off watching it but not a fantastic piece of effect. Overall, the special effects were okay but we didn't come here for the effects did we?
The music really done it for me during this series. It set the tone of a ghost-story with a creepy and eerie orchestra. I noticed this more during the World War II part of the series at Crickley Hall. Jones was able to set that unsettling tone whilst in the Manor which made me know that it was not a nice place to be. I like the music during the upsetting scenes as well, like the ones with Cam. It made me feel more sad!
Overall, the soundtrack worked really well in setting the mood of the series. It gave it that ghostly old-century feel.
I thought this was a good series to watch. I am disappointed that it was over so quickly and the outcome was a little uninspiring but overall, it was a good series to watch. I would recommend it to someone wanting to watch a good-quick series.
Cost & Where To Buy?
I watched this on Netflix but the DVD can be purchased at HMV for around £6.
The Telegraph: 2/5TV.com 7.7/10
Thanks for reading my review!
Product Information : The Secret of Crickley Hall (DVD)
Manufacturer's product description
Actor(s): Suranne Jones, Tom Ellis, Douglas Henshall, David Warner, Sarah Smart
DVD Region: DVD
Classification: 15 years and over
Production Year: 2012
Listed on Ciao since: 13/09/2017