Stars: Jessica Raine, Peter Capaldi, Nikesh Patel, Phil Dunster | Directed by Johnny Allan, Isabelle Sieb
Another special preview event for Frightfest, The Devil’s Hour is the first episode of a six-part series that is set to debut on Amazon Prime Video later this year and tells the story of single mum Lucy (Jessica Raine), who is woken every night by terrifying visions at exactly 3.33am… the titular devil’s hour. Her eight-year-old son is withdrawn and emotionless. Her mother speaks to empty chairs. Her house is haunted by the echoes of a life that isn’t her own. When Lucy’s name is inexplicably connected to a string of brutal murders in the area, the answers that have evaded her all these years will finally come into focus.
Cameoing in this first episode is Peter Capaldi, who plays a reclusive nomad, driven by a murderous obsession, who becomes the prime target of a police manhunt led by compassionate detective Ravi Dhillon, played by Nikesh Patel.
Being the start of a new show this first episode of The Devil’s Hour has a lot of work to do, to not only build its world but also get the audience hooked to come back for the second episode and more. And guess what? This episode does that in spades! At first feeling like a splintered tale, The Devil’s Hour weaves its tale of mystery and suspense brilliantly… Mainly by posing more questions than it answers!
Why is Lucy’s son acting so weird? Is it normal developmental issues following the break-up of his family or something more paranormal? Why do we suddenly see Lucy confront Peter Capaldi chilling villain, discussing the worst time in her life? Who is responsible for a spate of murders, committed by someone driving a red Nissan Vanette – a vehicle discontinued in 2011? Why does it feel like the story we’re being shown isn’t linear? And what the hell does all of it have in common?
We do get an answer to at least one of those questions but it only leads to more, ramping up the suspense and the mystery as the episode closes. It’s superb “must-see TV” scripting, it really is. I’ll be binge-watching all six episodes as soon as they hit Amazon (assuming they’re not aired weekly that is) after seeing this first episode, I really will.
In terms of performances, Jessica Raine is fantastic as Lucy, who is at once vulnerable when it comes to her son and her failed marriage and yet strong for the people she’s looking out for as part of Child Protective Services. Speaking of her son, young actor Tom Mulheron is chilling, his performance walking a fine line between timid child and possible future raving psychopath! Unfortunately Peter Capaldi’s role in the first episode is kept to a minimum, there’s just enough to know that his character is going to be suitably menacing – also Hannibal Lecter-like in his wickedness.
All in all this first episode is a brilliant teaser of what’s to come in the show itself. Which I highly recommend you check out when it comes to Amazon Prime Video.
The first episode of The Devil’s Hour screened as part of this year’s Arrow Video London Frightfest.