Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
on 4 January 2015
I'm not averse to 19th Century ghost stories. I've enjoyed all the wonderful M R James stories and a fair few by Sheriden le Fanu. But this is dreadful. I decided to give it a go after seeing the excellent film The Innocents, 1960, an old B&W classic with Deborah Kerr, and did I regret it!
The plot's simple: governess in charge of two seemingly angelic children starts to see the ghost of her predecessor and a strange and sinister man. She comes to believe these ghosts are corrupting the children and that the children themselves are complicit in this. Such a slight tale depends on the author creating the type of creepy, spooky atmosphere at which both M R James and le Fanu (not to mention Susan Hill) excel. Unfortunately the style of writing is so twisted, convoluted and downright tortuous it fails dismally in creating any such atmosphere.
The sudden, unexpected and unsatisfactory ending would have really irked me had I not been just glad to have got to the end of the whole thing.