27 April 2016 | Leofwine_draca
THE ENFIELD HAUNTING is a three-part miniseries dramatisation of the famous real-life poltergeist case from 1977, in which psychic investigators Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair researched the plight of two sisters who were being haunted by a ghost in their own bedroom.
It was a hugely influential storyline and one which still sends shivers up my spine; to date, the BBC mockumentary GHOSTWATCH has been the best adaptation of the material despite making up its own storyline. Sadly, this version of events is heavily fictionalised, and too obsessed with having the main characters emotionally involved with the storyline.
It seems you can't just have characters investigating a ghost anymore. There have to be back stories, emotionally wrought moments, and family scenes for the investigators (Juliet Stevenson is a good actress but her character is entirely redundant here). I don't think any of it actually happened in the real case, but if that's what viewers want, right? Well, not this one. Although Playfair himself was involved in the script, I blame Joshua St. Johnston, whose track record is hardly appropriate for horror-themed fare.
Although the 1970s setting is an effective one, too much of this show feels like an EXORCIST clone at times. The possession scenes are often repetitive, and the visions of the old man are cheesy rather than scary. Sadly the filmmakers today feel that more is better when it comes to ghost stuff, so you get ridiculous films like INSIDIOUS filling cinemas and inspiring others to approach material in the same way. A subtle approach instead would have worked wonders. What you're left with is a pair of excellent performances from the completely reliable Timothy Spall and Matthew Macfadyen, and not a whole lot else.