TV review: True Horror (3 stars)

TV review: True Horror

Spooky 'real' ghost stories require its audience to fully buy into the paranormal

With scenes of war and destruction playing out on our news programmes every evening, any kind of drama billed as 'terrifying' is going to have to go some if it wants to have an impact on the modern viewer. True Horror's unique scary point is that, hence the name, the horror within comes from true life stories.

First up, we visit 'Hellfire Farm' in the Welsh hills where an artist and his family initially enjoy their idyllic isolation but when objects move around the house without explanation, animals start behaving weirdly, and their electricity bill goes through the roof for no apparent reason, a mean spirit is suspected. In the second instalment, 'Ghost in the Wall', the paranormal force appears to be closer to the protagonist's home when the sour patriarch dies of a massive heart attack and then seems to be haunting his less than beloved daughter-in-law by tormenting the children she begins to have after his death. The inexplicably spooky events go into overdrive when one child is pulled through the wall by some old geezer …

Both episodes use standard tropes of a disturbing figure appearing in the camera's peripheral vision for a split second, the occasional false alarm aims to keep us on the edge of our toes, and the sound department earn their corn by seemingly dragging various objects across the floor to create the appropriate levels of squealing mayhem.

The style of this show (dramatic reconstructions and contemporary interviews with the survivors of these 'hauntings') is subjective and lends itself no scepticism, all the narration coming from the real-life characters. True Horror doesn't question the events in any way but presents them as fact. So, whether you buy into the terror is entirely your own call, especially given the techniques used to chill us are so familiar from modern horror cinema.

Episodes watched: one and two.

True Horror starts on Channel 4, Thu 19 Apr, 10pm.

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