Directed by Mahalia Belo. Starring Lydia Wilson, Joel Fry, Tara Fitzgerald, James Frecheville, Dyfan Dwyfor, Brendan Coyle, Joanna Scanlan, Claire Rushbrook, Sam Hazeldine, Sian Reese-Williams. 57 mins.
BBC One - 2nd February 2018
With an unsubtle score by Dominik Scherrer and Natasha Khan offering full tilt, foreboding female vocals from The Official Supernatural Horror Movie Music Book, Kris Mrksa’s new BBC drama is evidently keen to capitalise on the seemingly tireless current wave of genre television. The debut episode of this six-part Netflix co-production is built around a familiar “Missing child”, though it juxtaposes its fashionable slow-burn narrative approach of mysteriously locked rooms and Something-In-The-Basement anticipation with the overt spooky melodrama of shattering mirrors, nightmare shocks and two visceral suicide scenes in the first 15 minutes.
Lydia Wilson – best known for her recurring role on RIPPER STREET and STAR TREK BEYOND – underplays nicely as an appealing young cellist in contemporary London, haunted by strange dreams. Soon after an elderly man takes his own life at a country manor, Wilson’s troubled mum seems driven by similar forces to cut her own throat with a kitchen knife in a multi-storey car park, on the night of a major performance in her rising classical music career. On a mission to explain this horrific event, Wilson discovers her mum was obsessed with an unresolved missing toddler case in a Welsh village back in 1994, and – encouraged by her friend – sets off to the location to find out why.
An early tendency toward the overwrought in episode one of the Newport-shot REQUIEM is nicely tempered by the sincere performances of all concerned, with Tara Fitzgerald joining the action in episode two. Director Belo sustains a simmering sense of menace, while not giving away too much, and chances are it will develop into quite a creepy little mystery – though whether or not it can stand out in the overwhelming volume of genre product right now, is yet to be determined.
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