Review of Doctor Who ‘Night Terrors’
SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 9, series 6/32 of Doctor Who
The Doctor made a stop off from the over-arching storyline to answer a distress call from a seven-year-old boy in this creepy little tale from Mark Gatiss.
It was nice to see the Doctor return to Earth in a setting not dissimilar to that of the viewer, given all the alien planets and time-hopping shenanigans that have taken place so far this series.
It was science fiction meets kitchen sink drama, the latter of which Rory sums up succinctly when he says that the Doctor is in “EastEnders land”. Steven Moffat took ‘Doctor Who’ out of urban London and re-located it to the sleepy, rural village of Leadworth. Therefore, it was interesting to see the show return to a city backdrop and it made the episode even more frightening because it turned the normal into something threatening.
The Doctor remarks that the scariest place in the universe is a child’s bedroom: somewhere that is supposed to safe is in fact where the danger lies. Somehow bags of rubbish seemed to take on a sinister appearance, with an old lady being swallowed up by them. This scene may well have instilled a childhood fear of bin liners among kids across the country.
Jamie Oram gave a mesmerizing performance as George, the boy who is terrified of everything. The way in which he shrinks away from the cupboard and is in a constant state of paralyzing fear is remarkable acting from such a young child. Given that his character is fairly representative of the young audience, it may well have proved to be more frightening because they can relate to his character.
Saying this, it is not just children who would have found ‘Night Terrors’ scary, there were moments that would have made even the most fearless grown-up jump. The creaking doors and inanimate dolls coming to life were spine-tingling.
This episode may receive complaints from concerned parents for being too scary. However, ‘Doctor Who’ has always been known for its scare factor but at the same time, the show gives out the positive message that whatever happens, there are adults like the Doctor who will look after you. The universe can be a scary place but there are always going to be people who will protect you from the monsters.
Matt Smith radiated a paternal tenderness in a lovely scene with George where he used the sonic screwdriver to make the toys in his bedroom move as if by magic. It was heartwarming and a reminder that despite looking so young, the Doctor is ancient and has been a father.
Beautifully written and very touching, the simple premise of ‘Night Terrors’ made it effective, the classic tale of the little boy who is afraid of monsters.
One final thought: the eerie song by the dolls mentions the Doctor’s death, does this mean that knowledge of his death is scattered across time and space?
Image credit: BBCTagged in: doctor who, Doctor Who series 32, Doctor Who series 6
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