N083 Night Terrors



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Creepy dolls, odd plot structure and a little old lady who may or may not have spent the night among the bins make this no less of a remake of ‘Fear Her’



 In a city block of flats unworthy of a name or a location, wee George is suffering from a bad case of sh*tting-his-pantsophobia.

To stop him from associating everything with horror, he has his mum flicker the lights on and off, and shines his torch on his toys to make terrifying shadows dance across the wall.

Across the starry reaches of time and space, the Doc gets a note through to his psychic paper requesting a house call because there’s no way George’s nurse mother could get him any medical attention.

Now Amy, Rory, and The Eleventh Doctor must track down George and force him to confront his phobias while dodging wooden acting, wooden dolls, and wouldn’t you know it, peril down every corridor.

5 Responses to “N083 Night Terrors”

  1. Jim The Fish

    At long last! No overblown, improbable, or over-long story arc to contend with.

    It seems like Moffat had forgotten the roots of the show as we’re bombarded week after week with ‘clever for the sake of being clever’ wank. Luckily Gatiss comes in to save the day/season.

    One great thing about the classic series is that the stories were kept small which made the universe feel big. The new series (especially Moffats era, so far) has a tendency in the other direction, things have to be bigger and grander every time.

    This episode is visually stunning. The director manages to make those council flats look at once both artistic and stylish in a cubist sort of way and astonishingly mundane and depressing. The setting being shrouded in darkness really put me on edge.

    Matt Smith is just fantastic as The Doctor, isn’t he?

    His strength and purpose just shines through – like the scene in the kitchen where George’s dad asks him to leave and he refuses… the moment he casually puts his arm on top of the fridge just oozes menace and determination. When he says he has old eyes, you believe him.

    Alex is brilliantly played too, you really feel for him with his struggle raising a son he finds hard to cope with, as well has having a very intimidating landlord. I really did feel a bit scared for Alex when the landlord was pressuring him with his dog by his side.

    The old woman being pulled into the bin bags reminds me strongly of Robert Holmes work at its most playful (Terror of the Autons especially) because the sequence is both very creepy and insanely silly.

    I loved the line, after falling down the lift… Rory: “We’re dead. We’re dead again!”

    The dolls are possibly the creepiest monster of the week for me only rivalled by the Weeping Angels. The transformation scenes were very creepy.

    I must say that with the amount that Rory has died and Amy getting into scrapes every now and then, that when Amy was transformed into a doll I rolled my eyes.

    The child that played George wasn’t as bad as I expected but, yes, like what Ponken has said on many occasions, “All child actors should be CGI”.

    Overall, a really enjoyable, moody standalone break from the arc.

    I’ll give it a 3.7 / 5

    Reply
  2. Star Wars Syl | @StarWarsSyl

    George is very cute and the moment when Alex charges murderous dolls to save his son made me teary eyed. Again.

    My biggest quibble with the episode, is the parenting. If it’s scaring the kid, why keep it? In the kid’s room? Is there some grandparent who will be offended if the dollhouse just goes away, into the trash or a second-hand shop or something? And what about these “scary pictures” Alex speaks of? The parents can’t figure out why their kid is continuously scared when they keep putting everything that scares him in a room with him, turn the lights out, close the door between kiddo and the nearest adults, then tell him to fall asleep.

    The rest of the quibbles are as follows: An eyeball that doesn’t even fit the dolls, in a drawer of said dollhouse just to be scary to the audience. Rory complaining that there are no lights when he walked right past at least one lightswitch, and didn’t even bother to try to turn it on. There are windows with light coming in, but they never try to look out… let alone try to break one when the doors don’t work. It’s like Rory and Amy are trying to get killed by the dolls. Classic horror story bullshit.

    For all my beefs, the fact this episode makes me feel things is something I cannot deny…

    2.9 out of 5 lightswitches Rory ignores in favor of bewailing they are forever doomed to walk in darkness.

    Reply
  3. Tracey | @yecartniatnuof

    Today we review Fear Him, probably the worst Doctor Who adventure ever, at least among new Who. From the horrible doll costumes, the strange pacing and incomprehensible plot elements, right through to the rushed ending, this one is just awful. But worst of all is that NO ONE EVEN MENTIONS the GODDAMN BABY that Amy had to raise unknowingly while STILL A CHILD HERSELF from LAST EPISODE!!

    Amy should be absolutely traumatized by last week’s experience. Let’s pause and recap: Amy was held captive while unconscious and pregnant, only waking as the baby was literally about to come out of her. Then said baby was pulled from her arms and taken away. Then she learned that her childhood friend was her daughter, and the entire time she was actually supposed to be raising her. Amy was given zero warning that she had to be a mother from age 8 to a child that was already older than her. She should be upset. She should be pissed. She should be guilt-ridden. She should be emotionally drained from it. It should be messing with her and it should be messing with Rory. We should see some of that, especially in an episode about wanting or not wanting a child.

    Rating: doesn’t even belong in the canon, production order mumble grumble

    Reply
  4. Michael Ridgway

    Good Stuff:

    • Old school creepy Who!
    • Creepy laughing/singing giant dolls!
    • Bin-bag monster!
    • The Doctor ramming a giant pair of scissors into a creepy giant doll! (I think I just find scenes where people get stabbed with scissors funny).

    Beefs:

    • Maybe too talky in places, with too few scares.
    • Not enough bin-bag monster.
    • Maybe too sentimental?
    • Perhaps too reminiscent of Fear Her? (but less pants).

    In summary: some memorable creepiness, inoffensive, but by no means a classic. Although incidentally the sinister goings-on in a block of flats reminded me of fantastic (and far superior) 7th Doctor episode ‘Paradise Towers’, which gives it an extra point.

    Rating: 2.3/5 old ladies eaten by bin bags.

    Reply
  5. Miserere Nardoleo

    Hello Whobackwhen!

    I wrote in for this one because I had a theory.

    Mark Gatiss has written a story about a boy who doesn’t belong, a cuckoo in the nest, who’s terrified of rejection, who locks up his fears and his out-of-control feelings in the cupboard in order to assimilate to what he thinks his parents want him to be, perhaps he liked to play with dolls but was scared of how it made him feel, and his redemption is being accepted by his parents for who he is, although when puberty hits there may be some further conversations to be had.

    Unfortunately, the episode takes the form of a trip on a ghost train rather than having anything specific to add in terms of possible morals to be drawn. I liked being reminded of Roald Dahl and Ghostbusters at various points, but the writers’ naked ambition to scare at every opportunity actually meant I was braced for some shocks when they came, lessening their effect.

    I watched this episode’s Doctor Who Confidential for clues about my theory, but there was nothing. Not even a credit for Fear Her, I might add. Also, the actor who plays George is described as the best conversationalist, who doesn’t stop talking. So give him some lines! All in all, one of those mid-range episodes that end up being forgettable.

    Ker-ciao,

    Nardole

    Reply

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