Why The Devil’s Hour should be your next box set
James R | On 27, Nov 2022
When is a horror show not a horror show? When it’s actually something a lot more surprising. The Devil’s Hour, created by first-timer Tom Moran, starts out for all intents and purposes as a creepy thriller, from the sinister music and unsettling atmosphere right down to its release just in time for Halloween. But over the course of its six-episode creepiness, what begins as a spooky oddity expands and evolves into a complicated, twisting puzzle box that has a lot more than jump-scares on its mind.
Jessica Raine (who delivered a scene-stealing turn in Patrick Melrose) is brilliant as Lucy, a mother who finds herself repeatedly waking up at 3.33am – what Google tells her is known as “the devil’s hour”. Why are her nights so routinely sleepless? And why is her son, aged eight, so withdrawn to the point where he could ace an audition for a haunted house movie? And why does she keep having haunting glimpses of a life that isn’t hers?
The answers are gradually unpicked by Lucy, who is as tenacious as she is trepidatious, and Ravi, a police detective played with enough warmth to lighten the dark mood by the always-excellent Nikesh Patel. While they spark potential chemistry, Lucy is also haunted by her ex, played by Ted Lasso’s Phil Dunster. But the most chilling figure of all is Gideon, a strange man played with sociopathic menacing vibes (and a deepening vein of grief and pain) by a superb Peter Capaldi. The more we see Lucy and Gideon swap probing questions over what appears to be a prison table, the more we learn about a string of murders in the area – and that’s where things get really weird.
Johnny Allan (The Irregulars) directs the heck out of the whole endeavour, slowly bringing truths into focus and rapidly colliding sets and locations into each other along the way. By the time we reach some semblance of answers, the logic might not always seem solid, but what’s undoubtable is that the actors are relishing the chance to sink their teeth into so many dimensions of their characters. Past and present trauma pave the way for future mysteries, forging an intriguing thriller that hops between ideas with disarming confidence – and, for all its unexpected flourishes, leaves you in no surprise that a second and third season have been green-lit.