The ghosts of déjà vu are tricky. A glitch in the Matrix? A connection to the other? Or brain synapses misfiring? In The Devil’s Hour, a six part drama series created by Tom Moran and starring Jessica Raine and Peter Capaldi, the feeling of having lived a moment before is harder to ignore when you can reach out and touch it.
Combining elements of police drama, ghost house horror, and psychological thriller, The Devil’s Hour takes déjà vu and gives it the heebie jeebies.
What Is The Devil's Hour About?
Social worker Lucy (Raine) is estranged from her husband (Phil Dunster) due to his inability to deal with their emotionless young son, Issac (Benjamin Chivers). Every morning, without fail, Lucy wakes up at 3:33am – the Devil’s Hour – after struggling with dreams where she seems to remember things that did not happen, or even have not yet happened.
Yet through a framing device wherein battered and bruised Lucy, along with DI Ravi Dhillon (Nikesh Patel) are faced with a murderer who will only speak to Lucy (Peter Capaldi), it is clear that events are going to play out with dangerous repercussions.
The Devil’s Hour trades off of a series of unsettling scares and asks you to be as fearful as Lucy when she lurches back from a sudden unknown person in her house. It lingers over Issac’s creepy blankness as he stares at a wall and watches the movement of an unseen presence.
There is a theory that it is ok for the audience to know what is going on so long as they are not too far ahead of the characters.
The Devil's Hour Official Trailer
Is The Devil's Hour Worth Watching?
The Devil’s Hour launches with intrigue and closes with some decent surprises, but struggles to maintain tension in the middle as a series of hints mean that we are fairly clued up well in advance of the cast.
As Lucy remembers deaths that haven’t happened, the manner in which such non-killings tie into actual murders committed by Capaldi’s character seem clear enough that waiting for her to catch up can get irritating.
Plot conceit aside, The Devil’s Hour is a gorgeously hung triptych of narrative, character, and mood. Even if the mystery is played out rather early, the thrumming degradation of nerves it has on the characters keeps the atmosphere heightened.
Raine’s dogged determination to understand her son carries the emotional core, thanks also to an otherworldly performance from young Benjamin Chivers. Despite carrying an utterly blank face for the most part, Chivers retains a glimmer of something unknowable behind the eyes, which shines all the more for the rare occasions he squeaks out a smile or has flashes of upset.
Similarly, Patel’s blood-phobic murder detective has a generous charm hidden in his buttoned down seriousness. Whether he is being gently goaded by friend and colleague DS Nick (Alex Ferns, Andor), or entangled within Lucy’s inexplicable knowledge of things that haven’t happened, Patel’s earnest performance keeps things connected as his investigation closes in.
The Devil’s Hour’s six episodes fit just about right. Once Capaldi gets large chunks of screen time he deftly delivers a character burdened by much yet steadfast and resolute.
His eventual revelations, although heavily hinted already, add just enough intricacy to feel satisfactory and even managed to drop a few more clues about the after effects of some unseen meddling which keys up a second season nicely (indeed, season 2 is already filming).
With a tightly crafted drama and a concept that promises the ability to re-examine the inevitability of human nature, The Devil’s Hour ensures that your time spent together is one you will want to return to. That said, 3:33am is optional, ok?
Words by Mike Record