The devil wears nada
A woman wakes up every night at 3:33 a.m. Bad luck: it would be the hour of the devil, certainly because 6:66 does not exist. His mother is derailed, his son is as good at externalizing his emotions as a high-level sociopathand she finds herself connected to brutal murders.
Unrelated to the 2019 film of the same name, The Devil’s Hour benefits from’an intriguing pitch with this satanic hour concept. The problematic of the child foreshadowed a diversion of innocence in the vein of The curse by Richard Donner.
Except that the series takes too long to draw a singularity from it: it’s only in her final segments that she makes her mythology explicit, too late to really exploit its potential. Not a flaw in itself, this revelation could have crowned a scaffolding of cleverly maintained mysteries.
The snooze of anguish
Unfortunately, the fantastic clichés based on fleeting visions and rudimentary biblical symbolism (Isaac, Mr. Shepherd…) do not generate a particularly pronounced waiting effect. The anomaly of the nocturnal awakening could almost be replaced by an itch in the crotch without transforming the main axes of the story.
There remains Peter Capaldi, whose delicious ambiguity is a definite asset. His hard features and his ability to portray a more or less gentle madness (see his lunar interpretation in The Suicide Squad) allow him to assume theambivalence of his character. But to really make an impression, or to make his confrontation with Jessica Raine work in mode mastermind psychological type Thesilenceofthelambsit would have required a more subtle scenario.
Am I a good man?
The terrible thriller
The Devil’s Hour dare a mixture of genres thrillerhorror, fantasy and drama which, managed well, could have offered a singular experience. First problem: despite the screen time devoted to it, anxiety follows such well-marked paths, based on ultra-redundant hallucinations and jumpscares of great poverty (the telephone vibrator…), that the series fails to arouse the slightest shiver. It’s not James Wan or Mike Flanagan who wants it.
The scenario suffers from its underexploited fantastic slope, being able to offer little better than a few scenes of prescience or discussions with invisible interlocutors to cause trouble. The exchanges expected from the practitioner interpreted by Meera Syal will not disconcert fans of the genre any more.
Wall, my dear wall, tell me if abortion is still possible at eight years old
The balance sheet is hardly more brilliant on the thriller side, as the treasure hunt lacks pep. Weighted down by useless scenes, the investigation progresses slowly, using conventional strings or unworthy facilities: extracting a detail from a soundtrack, finding the code for a safe thanks to the huge clue placed right next to it. Even the exploration of underground “à la Saw leaves it cold: careful photography draws the universe more towards an aestheticized pastel tale than a craspec experience.
If the graft is struggling to take, the emotion finally emerges when the fate of the family is tied. On the last episodes, it is strangely in the action that the director scores points, offering some well-packed sequences when the confrontation becomes frontal.
The sick of it
Tom Moran can count on a cast of controlled English descentthe majority of which took a turn on the side of Doctor Who, to producers Steven Moffat and his wife Sue Vertue. It is probably no coincidence that during an interrogation, the policeman asks Peter Capaldi if he is “a time traveler”…
Despite a feeling british not unpleasant (in case of boredom, you can dare the shot of whiskey each time a character drinks tea or talks about it), the interactions are cruelly devoid of life and authenticity. The dynamic linking the two heroes is as cliché as possible and totally disembodied, and it is difficult to justify the importance taken on screen by the initial boyfriend. How to believe it with dialogues lacking at this point of relief and livelinesslike this telephone exchange about the supernatural as removed as a writing of CE2?
The origin of evil play
Victims of their generic writing, the characters have a hard time gaining depth. That the sympathy of the detective is struck with a big ticket offered to a homeless person gives a fair idea of the finesse of the whole. Especially since his only other characteristic is listening to music at crime scenes…
The generational dimension induced by the scenario could have made it possible to deepen the ties within the heroine’s family, except that each of its members is enclosed in its bubble : she is disoriented, her mother senile and her son so apathetic that he offers no hook… without managing to switch sufficiently to the side of gross unease.
Consequently, certain passages ring horribly hollow, including a scene of inauthentic bullying at school. So much so that when Jessica Raine gives of herself to overplay joy in a desperate attempt to touch her offspring, we come close to the meta confession of a fiction that assembles the expected ingredients without succeeding in embodying them.
The Devil’s Hour is available on Amazon Prime Video since October 28, 2022 in France