The Enfield Haunting

Sky Living’s newest home production The Enfield Haunting is yet another take on the poltergeist-haunting-as-a-true-story story. The difference this time is that it’s UK set and based on a pretty well know story - if you were around in the late 1970’s.

Based on the book by the astoundingly named Guy Playfair, played by a solid Matthew Macfadyen looking good in 70s garb, this is the story of a family in suburban Enfield that are plagued by a spook. Or so they proclaim. Initially brought in the investigate the claims is recently bereaved father Maurice Grosse, an understatedly excellent turn from Timothy Spall, who falls immediately for the charms of younger daughter Janet, who reminds him of his own recently deceased daughter, also Janet. It’s cleverly done as when Grosse is the only touchpoint for the audience it’s easy to be a believer, but when Playfair enters the scene his initial disbelief colours the viewers gullibility.

Whether the claims are true or not, and over the years their veracity has been debated a number of times, doesn’t really matter. Some of the event shave clearly been exaggerated for effect but that doesn’t lessen the impact as TV entertainment, after all that’s what this is not a documentary, and it is entertaining. And spooky.

As well as the obvious quality from Spall and Macfadyen there’s an excellent performance from Eleanor Worthington-Cox as the little girl at the centre of the haunting. The question of whether it’s real or not becomes even more disturbing with her portrayal. She’s either a manipulative and disturbed, or possessed and disturbed, frankly neither is a great option.

The first two episodes build the suspense and lead up to the climax perfectly. The final episode is almost disappointing though as it pushes the premise that bit too far. Still it wraps up the plot lines well. A well paced, well acted, and eminently watchable show; if you’re a Sky customer you can watch all three episodes now, or they’re on Sky Living each Sunday for the next two weeks.

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