Ghostwatch

Ghostwatch ★★★★

Probably the best new thing I've watched so far this Shocktober. It's a purportedly real BBC broadcast (though they were forced to put a "Written by" credit at the beginning to clue viewers in that it wasn't true) which turns a live ghost hunt into a War of the Worlds style panic thanks to some clever ideas and a coup in talent acquisition. Sir Michael Parkinson (movie fans might know him from an appearance as himself in Love Actually interviewing Bill Nighy) is an award winning BBC interviewer, and his presence lends an unshakable air of believably to the proceedings, alongside three other famous BBC people on location and in studio. The house they are investigating is haunted by the ghost of an old woman, or a young pedophile, or some further reaching ghostly presence. It's a pretty clear forefather to the Paranormal Activity series, with normal people getting caught up in all kinds of spooky happenings that, for the most part, take the form of things rattling on the walls, or a change in location while the camera is turned. It's all really well done here (viewers should pay close attention to things that aren't necessarily the focus of a given frame and visit Wikipedia afterwards to find out some cool things they might have missed) and the escalation in the last 30 minutes is quite scary. It goes farther than I expected and created a panic when it was first broadcast on Halloween night in the early nineties. It is a remarkable combination of real world elements and a spooky standalone idea that I'm surprised has gone un-remade for so long.