When a ghost story, be it a movie or TV series, claims to be based upon true events my reaction normally involves fart noises & dismissive wanking hand movements.
Let’s just say I’m unconvinced…
Sometimes though it’s best just to ignore these pointless messages & enjoy what the movie or TV series has to offer. If it’s entertaining, who gives a shit if it’s trying to claim that the story is true? That is exactly the case here with the British TV adaption of The Enfield Poltergeist event based on Guy Lyon Playfair’s book, This House is Haunted.
Between 1977 and 1979, a poltergeist was claimed to be haunting a house in Enfield, England where a family lived. The two young sisters were particularly affected & the story got huge media coverage.
Many believe it to be nothing more than an elaborate hoax, tricks & games played by two bored teenage girls while others claim there is more than sufficient evidence to prove that something was going on in the house.
Believe what you will, I personally think it’s all rubbish & needed little more convincing once the Warrens added their two cents to the story (the girls were possessed by demons according to Ed Warren).
This 3-part series stars Timothy Spall & Matthew McFadden as two paranormal investigators tasked with determining if the strange events occurring at the home of the Hodgson family is the work of a poltergeist.
The family are struggling financially & with no father figure in sight, relishing the attention they are receiving. At least until things begin to take a darker & much more sinister turn. Janet in particular suffers the wrath of the ghostly goings-on suffering possession & violent behaviour.
The validity of the poltergeist is never really called into question here; the story is based more around what it wants & why it has chosen this family to haunt.
There are some interesting side-plots that tie into the overall story such as Maurice Grosse & his wife Betty’s attempts to move on after the death of their daughter in a motorbike accident or Guy’s attempts to turn the event into a book he can write.
The acting is what makes The Enfield Haunting such a compelling watch with everyone doing a great job in their roles. Timothy Spall & Juliet Stevenson in particular are incredible. Janet, played by Eleanor Worthington Cox, is thrust into the lead role & manages to hold her own…mostly. Her cockney accent is a bit laughable at times but she manages to convey innocence on one hand & threat on the other.
Where The Enfield Haunting stutters is with it’s scares, it has moments that will make the hairs on your neck stand up (a really well done possession scene with a medium) but offers little new or exciting in this department. In fact at times it can be quite slow & uneventful. Perhaps it could have been condensed into 2 episodes rather than 3.
Still, it’s a lot better than many Hollywood ghost films & that makes it a worthwhile watch.
The Enfield Haunting