'The Secret of Crickley Hall'
(Suranne Jones, Tom Ellis, Douglas Henshall, David Warner, Sarah Smart, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2012) 2013 / BBC Video)
Overview: A year after their young son Cabe goes missing without trace, Eve (Suranne Jones - 'Scott & Bailey') and Gabe (Tom Ellis) Caleigh decide a change of scene would help, and set out with their daughters for what they hope will be the rustic delights of Crickley Hall. Shortly after arriving in the Devonshire village of Devil's Cleave, however, the family start to experience strange paranormal events, which somehow seem to be linked to the disappearance of their son.
DVD Verdict: I actually first came across this UK TV series by accident - happy accident, as it turns out. Because wow, what an incredible, ghostly, thought-provoking tale this really is.
When an overworked mother Eve (Suranne Jones) sits in a playground gently napping whilst her son is kidnapped, as the anniversary of the first year of his disappearance comes around, her husband Gabe (Tom Ellis) decides they all need a change of scenery.
He is a contractor, works on houses and so takes Crinkley Hall as a project. So, he moves his wife, and their two daughters up to this creepy, huge Hall and settle them in. Immediately, the youngest daughter sees the ghosts, the children that used to live there. In flashbacks we get to see the Hall as it once was - a boarding lodge for children whose parents were in the war.
As the three parter plays out, we see that the father and daughter who run the Hall are not prepared to accept Jews or German's into their housing lightly. And so, with one little 6 year-old boy in particular determined never to speak English, he constantly gets the cane. As now the mother too can see the ghosts on occasion, the husband and eldest child not so much, the old characters start to flashback to one terrible night when the father decided to take everyone with him in his murderous depravity.
Sure the story didn't need three hour long parts to tell, but it works, just in that it stretches out the ghost story perfectly; audience wise. Come the end, of course, Eve and her kids have to solve the case of why the children's ghosts are still there, haunting the Hall. And as much as there is a very theatrical ending, it is a satisfying one at that. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.