I’m not being sarcastic when I say that the back of Peter Capaldi’s head is the scariest thing in the first episode of The Devil’s Hour, a new six-part scary drama on Amazon Prime Video written by Tom Moran. I just want to make sure that the fact that Capaldi is the scariest actor working today is on the record.
The only reason why his years as Doctor Who didn’t permanently scar a whole generation of kids is because they don’t know enough about life yet. If you do, you can see that all of it lives in Capaldi’s face, and most of it is suffering, grief, and pain.
At first, we don’t see much of that haunted face, but it’s clear that his character is the key to the whole story. Our main concern is with Lucy (Jessica Raine), an overworked social worker who is also dealing with an elderly mother with dementia, the end of her marriage to Mike (Phil Dunster), and an unreachable, heartbreaking child named Isaac (Benjamin Chivers).
He has no feelings, is easily influenced, is weak, and often sees and hears things from people who other people don’t see or hear. Lucy wakes up every night at exactly 3:33 am. While she sleeps, she has terrible dreams that wake her up.
Are they just normal nightmares caused by the stresses and strains of the present, or are they the result of trauma that has been buried, as other momentary hallucinations and what seem to be flashbacks suggest? Or, as Capaldi’s face suggests, are they something worse?
DI Ravi Dhillon, played by Nikesh Patel, is looking into bloody murder. He is a cool young man, except when he throws up at bloody crime scenes. The culprit is connected to the disappearance of a young boy years ago, and by the end of the first episode, he or she is also connected to Lucy.
Almost every horror trope you could want is here, like poisoned Halloween candy in a child’s bucket. Isaac is the character who is like a mix of The Omen and The Sixth Sense. There are figures that you can just barely see and then they are gone. Images of bloody stuffed animals, hems of nightgowns, and a shotgun under a person’s chin. Everywhere you look, there are shadows.
Then there’s Capaldi, who is handcuffed to a table in a dark interview room and is talking to Lucy in a gnomic way about what has happened to them, which we don’t know everything about yet. He asks her, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been through?” This is already a scary question, but he asks it with That Face, which should make all of her skin fly off. “Everything!” says Lucy. “You!”
“I’m sorry, Lucy,” he says in a sad voice. “You’ve been through much worse than I have. You just haven’t figured it out yet.” Dum dum DA!
It is a lot of fun. It has a lot of different parts that, if they work well together, will make it a great show in a lot of other ways. Right now, the show is held together by Raine’s storming performance.
She does a great job as a mother who is full of love and worry, a brave professional (there is a well-done storyline about domestic violence that raises the tension), and a possible victim who fears she might be going crazy (we don’t know if she’s a victim of a past, present, or future evil).
So far, the supernatural part isn’t as important as how horrifying her performance is for the mind. It’s done very well. If the rest of the show is as scary as she was, we’re in for a real treat.
Related Stories Recommended By Writer: