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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TV Herbert Horror is Chilling Stuff!
Having been a huge fan of James Herbert since the days of "The Rats", I was engulfed with enthusiasm when I first read about the cast that had been brought together for "The Secret of Crickley Hall". TV Mini-Series based on horror novels always play better than theatrical movies. Stephen King's IT, Desperation, The Shining, Rose Red, etc, etc....
Eve, Gabe (Suranne...
Published on 29 Nov 2012 by Miracle 2011

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What could have been
Based on a top story by James Herbert, this film could have been a top haunted house film.
But the producers, for some reason or another decided to make a few changes. Why I don't know?
They added material that was not in the book, and took important elements out.
Acting only average, only Maisie Williams stood out.
Could have been a top show.
Published 6 months ago by Simon Vanderlaan


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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TV Herbert Horror is Chilling Stuff!, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
Having been a huge fan of James Herbert since the days of "The Rats", I was engulfed with enthusiasm when I first read about the cast that had been brought together for "The Secret of Crickley Hall". TV Mini-Series based on horror novels always play better than theatrical movies. Stephen King's IT, Desperation, The Shining, Rose Red, etc, etc....
Eve, Gabe (Suranne Jones, Tom Ellis) and their children Loren, Cam and Cally, live in London until Cam goes missing. Eve falls asleep for a few seconds at a playground and he disappears. Nearly a year later, Gabe suggests relocating the family to the North, hoping a change of scenery will give Eve some comfort, as they all still cling to the hope that Cam may be alive. When they first arrive at Crickley Hall, they meet Percy Judd (David Warner) who worked there during the war; he seems concerned for their children. They start to settle in but before long, strange things start to happen at the house. They hear people, Cally claims to have been hit by a man with a cane and their dog runs away in terror. In the house Eve hears her missing son's voice for the first time in a year. He says he is alive and the children can tell her where he is. After Loren suffers a terrifyingly real nightmare where she gets whipped by the man with the cane, Gabe wants them all to leave, but Eve can't bear to abandon her son.
This terrifying story is spliced together through flashbacks (in chronological order) with a back-story from 1943: Crickley Hall is an orphanage for children evacuated from the Blitz. Nancy (Olivia Cooke) is interviewed for the position of `tutor' by Magda (Sarah Smart), sister of Augustus Cribben (Douglas Henshall) who runs the orphanage. Nancy meets the children, including six year old Stefan (Kian Parsiani), a German refugee, and fourteen year old Maurice (Bill Milner), the class sneak. Cribben keeps in the shadows - he hasn't been the same since he was injured in the Blitz. Nancy suspects the orphans are being mistreated, especially Stefan. When Nancy finally meets Cribben, she is appalled by a man who seems out of control. She tries to rescue the orphans but is fired and no-one believes her apart from young Percy (Iain de Caestecker), who is about to be called up to war.
Writer, director Joe Ahearne pulls out all the stops by piling on the suspense with lots of old camera tricks here and a bit of CGI magic there. The score is excellent and really pushes the envelope for TV drama to its max. The drama drips with menacing atmosphere in every dark corner.
But what makes this extra special is the performances from the outstanding cast. Kudos to Jones for finally being able to shred her TV Soap tag and the younger cast are just remarkable. Stone and Smart dominate the screen in their scenes and little German actor Parsiani is a revelation. Surprisingly, the dark (and quite alarmingly apt) subject matter of child abuse is not overtly played nor is it stingingly obvious - but the message gets across in a most unsettling way nonetheless.
Hopefully the DVD will play without breaks so that we get a 2 and a half hour epic ghost story which does Herbert's novel complete Justice. It's a damn shame that "Haunted" and "Fluke" were not filmed this way - in fact it's a damn shame that more of Herbert's work has not been adapted. Then again - have you seen "The Rats" movie???!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but let down by the changed ending, 16 Sep 2013
By 
Mandi R. Martin "Ballet Student" (Birmingham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
I must say I was not sure when I was bought this as I am a big fan of the book and I am sceptical of TV adaptations. For the most part I was pleasantly surprised. It was well cast and the setting was ideal.
The story was as chilling as the book and kept you watching, the children were very well acted which can be unusual for their ages, I really felt for poor Stefan.
Sadly I found the ending a bit of a let down, without posting huge spoilers I will only say that changing it from the original ending was a poor move, it may have made it somewhat happier but it hadn't the hard hit that the book had. That is the only reason it loses a star, if I had not already read the book I would probably not be so critical! However it is a good production and will certainly be watched again
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What could have been, 30 May 2014
By 
Simon Vanderlaan (St.Clair., N.S.W. Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
Based on a top story by James Herbert, this film could have been a top haunted house film.
But the producers, for some reason or another decided to make a few changes. Why I don't know?
They added material that was not in the book, and took important elements out.
Acting only average, only Maisie Williams stood out.
Could have been a top show.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort, but a missed opportunity, 20 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
A recent TV adaptation for a James Herbert novel The Secret of Crickley Hall, this title should be a spine-chilling tale of spite, sadism, loss and dread. That's what Herbert's book was from the first few chapters onwards; a feeling of dread permeated over every night the Caleighs spend in the Hall intensifying as the truth of what happened to the orphaned evacuees in 1943 comes further into the light. But in the BBC's adaptation it feels very much muted, like a damp squib that goes "phut" instead off making a proper bang. Where does it go wrong?

It's a well-made piece in three parts, each just under an hour long, with recaps and "Next week" blurbs stuck to each episode. The on-screen talent is what you'd expect of a BBC production (notably the ever-reliable David Warner in a more friendly role than he's usually typecast in). The filming itself is good with no poor effects, shaky-camera work or shoddy dialogue.

But the screenplay hasn't done the novel any favours: The Hall is far too well lit, making it feel less intimidating than it should (I'd recommend The Woman in Black [DVD]to see how it should be done properly); the Bully facing one of the Caleigh girls is far, far nastier (and realistic) in print and it makes the end result less plausible in the screenplay (also she has a hulking brother who doesn't appear in the script); the anti-semitism and outright sado-masochism of Cribbens is never plumbed in the TV adaptation (if put on post-watershed this shouldn't have been an issue); and Miss Linnett is given a far greater role in the proceedings than she has in the book, as her actual fate was meant to be one of the greater mysteries in the novel - just showing everyone without making them guess is terrible storytelling, throwing suspense away. The well is safely grated up on TV, there's no sign of the lethal wooden bridge of the novel (which played a significant part in the climax), and the frightful rainstorm echoing the night of 1943 which concludes the novel just doesn't happen on TV (dropping half the apocalyptic mood of the finale). Far too many things that would have, *should have*, made this production a classic were just left on the wayside. A four part story would have easily been sorted and the extra source material would have made this a must-own title for sure. What on earth was the BBC thinking?

I can barely give this effort four stars because its production quality is so solid; but it's barely frightening enough to stop a ten-year-old watching it because all its James Herbert plotlines have been so seriously pulled in the screenplay. It should have been so much better...
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Old-Fashioned Ghost Story, 8 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
Finally, something worth watching on British TV! Crickley Hall offers us all the elements of a classic old-fashioned ghost story. Nick of time savings, drama and added to that poignant acting. It's tastefully done too. Noone needs to see the bloated, decomposing body of the little boy - something that the shock-obsessed, grotesqueness of modern TV 'entertainment' seems to think we must want - instead the revelation is done the 'old' way, left to our imagination. It's a bit slow-moving at times, and a bit silly now and again, especially in Episode 3, but all in all, it's a very enjoyable story and worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engaging, 3 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
I found this thoroughly engaging even though I generally shy away from any series or film where cruelty to children is evident. There was a sincerity to the actors and the ghost was a (dare I say) wonderfully malevolent character and force. I don't want to offer any spoilers but the twists near the end were excellent. The only line I disliked was "you can change" simply because that is so trite.
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3.0 out of 5 stars however as watching a DVD is quicker than reading I might give it a try especially as the very good Suranne Jones is in it, 18 July 2014
This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
I have had the book of this for quite some time,I usually read James Herberts books as soon as I get them but this one is the only one I have not finished,and now having read the comments on the DVD of it I realise I am not alone,however as watching a DVD is quicker than reading I might give it a try especially as the very good Suranne Jones is in it........
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars missed, 9 May 2013
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i watched this on tv but missed the final one so bought to see what happened. quite a good story if a little predictable at the end. not too scary as ghost stories go but an enjoyable watch never the less
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BBC editing, 4 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] (DVD)
Great DVD, just a little dissapointed that it still had the weekly end of episode review for the following part and previous episode resume` incorporated. I would have been nicer if these had been edited out to allow the film to flow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., 24 April 2014
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Would recommend this good ghost story to anyone. We (husband, children and I ) thoroughly enjoyed a Sunday afternoon watching it.
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The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD]
The Secret of Crickley Hall [DVD] by Joe Aherne (DVD - 2012)
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