The latest episode of Doctor Who aired two days ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, there will be spoilers in this post. I’m also not going to rehash the plot so if you haven’t seen it yet this review may not make much sense. I’m just giving my impressions and thoughts here.
My first impression…ooo, creepy. Almost scary. Now, mind you, I grew up on horror films. It takes a lot to scare me. Like Asian horror, or the del Torro remake of Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. Now that was scary! Sorry, that’s for another post. Anyway, what I was saying is that I watch 99% of things that are supposed to be scary with interest and fascination, but not with hide behind the sofa fear. I’m qualifying my remarks, here. So for me to say that this ep was almost scary means that it must have scared the bujeezus out of most watchers.
I loved that it was finally, again, the Doctor in charge. Not an Amy and Co. episode. Getting REAL tired of her and her arc. This even felt somewhat like an old episode. I could see the 4th or 5th, or even the 7th Doctor doing this story. To me that’s the mark of great writing for Doctor Who, could one of the earlier incarnations be saying these lines? In this one, yes.
Night Terrors had great classic horror elements to it. Stereotypical characters – the old lady and the landlord. Parents who regard the child as a problem to be solved and thus cause the child to feel unloved or unwanted. A scary place behind a closed door. An elevator. All these things have been used in the genre to extract the most terror, because these thing are what scare us in real life. Ask any horror aficionado and they will tell you the same. Good horror is predictable with a twist. I could see where this was leading me. I knew as soon as Amy and Rory started walking around after the lift fell that they were in the cupboard, and as soon as we were given a glimpse of the dollhouse I knew that’s where they were. As soon as the dolls grabbed hold of the landlord, I knew he would be turned into one. The twist, and thus the scare, came when Amy was turned into a doll. Not necessarily that a companion was put in peril, but that it wasn’t Rory. And the father getting sucked in to the cupboard, too, was also a bit of a surprise.
Now to the creepy. Those dolls. Even if they just fit in my hand I’d consider them creepy. Never mind them as big as me and walking around. A dark house is always creepy. Those sorts of low income, huge apartment buildings are creepy. Actually, any huge apartment building complex like that is creepy just by the fact that everything looks alike and anonymous. Having a kid put the stuff that scares him in a cupboard in his bedroom is creepy, but not in a scary way. In a “what a creepy thing to do to the kid” way.
At the end, while I’m getting tired of the love conquers all themes, I did like that the dad accepted that his boy was an alien and loves him anyway. That is rare. At least in film.
All in all a great episode. I can only hope for more like this in the future. Tho, not all like this. I would like to get back to just pure adventuring. But that us a rant for another post.