Single mother Lucy Chambers (Jessica Rain) wakes up every night at 3:33 sharp. The time from 3 to 4 is called the Devil’s Hour. Lucy’s son – eight-year-old Isaac (Benjamin Chivers) – does not experience any emotions and talks exclusively to people whom no one else sees. There were two murders in the area. And on the wall in the suspect’s room, the police found the inscription: “Where is Lucy Chambers?” A single mother observes strange bloody visions: either the future, or an alternative life, from which memories remain. Lucy is somehow connected to the killer’s victims and the perpetrator, but has no idea what they have in common.
The Devil’s Hour was produced by Steven Moffat, showrunner for Sherlock and Doctor Who. The project was directed by Johnny Allan (Irregulars) and Isabelle Seeb (On Duty). Of course, the participation of Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor, immediately attracts attention. The Scottish actor has a small but mysterious role (in the credits the hero’s name is Gideon, but he is in no hurry to introduce himself). In the first scene, Capaldi’s character, wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, sits in an interrogation room and communicates with Lucy. The suspect (sentenced without five minutes) does not give either the police or the single mother an answer who he is: either a time traveler or a fortune teller. The secrets of the man’s personality will be cleared up gradually. But the image of the calculating maniac psychopath (which Gideon appears at first), a less bloodthirsty version of Hannibal Lecter, Capaldi is very to face from the very first episode.
The British series is full of mysteries, and therefore it is exciting to watch the events on the screen. At 3:33, not only Lucy wakes up, but also her elderly mother in dementia. Is insomnia hereditary? The main character is tormented by visions, but not all nightmares come true. Neither Lucy nor the audience can understand what is happening. Probably, a single mother was simply tortured by a difficult child and constant insomnia. It is possible that a middle-aged woman is facing the first signs of a serious mental disorder. Lucy is a classic unreliable storyteller. Due to the tense and confused state of Mrs. Chambers, the narrative of The Hour of the Devil is fragmented and refuses to fit into the big picture. The authors should definitely be praised for their ability to throw riddles at the viewer, but not to disappoint with stupid answers. Most mystical or detective series are perfectly able to spin a complex plot, but not all projects manage to adequately unravel a tangle of questions without causing laughter and angry comments from the audience.
In Moffat’s project, mysterious events happen every minute. There are no passing episodes (and there are six episodes in the season). Many modern projects sin with heavy conversations and unnecessary lyrical digressions, which are designed to stretch the timing to a full-fledged one-hour episode. In the “Hour of the Devil” is not a harmonious, but intriguing narrative. Visions or memories in the form of short edits do not look alien, but add dynamics.
“The Devil’s Hourl” favorably distinguishes the state of constant anxiety. Lucy, in the company of police officers or alone, wanders through abandoned buildings, gets confused in images and sees ghosts in her home. In gloomy journeys, the heroine is accompanied by violin music and unpleasant noises: at any moment, an ex-husband (Phil Dunster) can jump out from around the corner at best, or a stranger or a criminal at worst. The boy Isaac is also terrifying. The emotionless child (a staunch ally of horror films) is reminiscent of the children in John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned. By the abundance of screamers and episodes filled with suspense, the series draws on an excellent horror. Moreover, tense moments follow logically from the plot.
“The Devil’s Hour” is close to the ideal serial thriller with elements of fantasy or mysticism. The writers don’t rule out time travel, the existence of ghosts, or more down-to-earth answers to the mysteries of Lucy Chambers’ life. The series deftly balances between several possible options and makes the viewer binge watch six episodes to go to bed peacefully.