What's more scary? A slavering monster in outer space or the disquieting notion that you may not be alone in a dark room? I'd go for the latter any day, and that's the power of plays such as this one where atmosphere triumphs over gloss and CGI.
A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS has a simple plot, but it's the encroaching isolation and emptiness of the setting that make it so effective. It's the still morning mists which may conceal more than you see, and the hints of something just beyond your perceptions that make it "scary".
The "ghost" of this story makes several appearances, all of them being chilling in a way that's difficult to explain. From a simple, indistinct figure watching you from a distance to a stark white face peering at you from the woods at night, all place you ill-at-ease and make you long for the warmth of something tangible & familiar. The ultimate appearance in a blacked-out bedroom made my stomach dip - There's no technical trickery of sudden "BOO" editing - It's the awful dread of sharing this terror with the main character and realising how, as children, we've all seen a "bogeyman" in the shadows of our own homes.
The cast are excellent - We never think Peter Vaugn's likeable amateur archeologist deserves his fate, and the finalé (which I won't share) seems logical yet unjust. These people could be us. We may do the same as them and reap a similar "haunting", and that's what brings the fear closer to home.
I wish more of the MR JAMES plays had been released, as there's really nothing like them on television now. This DVD also has an atmospheric reading of the original story and is equally worth your time.