Susan Hill’s Ghost Story is the possibly-clumsy and non-descript title for a television adaptation of the novel, The Small Hand, beginning with antique book dealer Adam Snow (Douglas Henshall) paying a visit back to his homeland, to see his fancy woman – Alice (Louise Lombard), and sadly, her husband, Edward (Adrian Rawlins).
Meanwhile, there’s a mad woman around called Denisa (Neve McIntosh), Adam’s mad brother, Hugo, says a man is staring at him; there’s also a strange woman in the window, and so on.
At the place Adam has gone, he goes for a run first thing in the morning. What is it about TV and movie characters going on holiday, yet… always going for a run in the morning! What’s wrong with actually having a holiday, and leaving all the usual trappings of reality behind?
Then, a small boy appears to grab his hand, but he’s nowhere to be seen, but then it’s a ghost story! Also early on, he apparently forces Adam’s head underwater in the grounds of the house, so that’s a lesson to be learned from going for a run when you’re on holiday!!!
Later, it’s Homes Under The Hammer time, as he’s encouraged to buy a nearby big house which is in massive need for repair because it’s fire-damaged, and I was left wondering does he have some mysterious connection to the house, long forgotten from his past? Either way, it also feels very reminiscent of a ’70s horror movie. The films I saw from that era, such as the Hammer Horror movies, were very similar, and at a time when I came to these fresh.
But… there’s jump scares, there’s lots of freaky things going on, there’s a tracking shot of a remote controlled car – which is straight out of The Shining, and out of an ‘surprises’, there’s nothing that makes you wonder “How did they do that?”
Overall, Susan Hill’s Ghost Story doesn’t really do anything we’ve not seen before, but maybe you’ll get a lot out of this if you enjoy ghost stories. That said, I loved the recent movie, Ghost Stories, but there was a marked difference in the writing between that one and this.
Well, almost finally, because early on I was thinking, whatever happens, you get a feeling he won’t be going through the the sale(!)
Still, as for how things turn out, there’s only one way to be sure and that’s to tune in for the broadcast… or watch online afterwards.
Susan Hill’s Ghost Story is broadcast tomorrow night on Channel 5 at 9pm. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. If you missed it, then it’ll be on My5 for 30 days after transmission.
Director: Justin Molotnikov
Producer: Jane Steventon
Screenplay: Susan Hill
Adam Snow: Douglas Henshall
Denisa: Neve McIntosh
Alice Merriman: Louise Lombard
Edward Merriman: Adrian Rawlins
Leo: Jasper Knopf
Benedicta: Maryam Hamidi
Hugo Snow: Cal MacAninch
Jamie: Woody Norman
Thierry: Paul Barber
Luke: Andrew John Tait
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.