Tuesday, 30 August 2016

TORCHWOOD - MADE YOU LOOK

We have had shocks, scares, adrenaline fuelled chases and emotional meltdowns. We have had Cardiff buddy movies, Victorian romps and Russian mysteries. But we have not had anything remotely like this. Ever. Ladies and gentlemen I have gone down the rabbit hole, left Kansas and found Narnia at the back of my wardrobe – I have been listening to the last in the current series of Torchwood – “Made You Look” and this really is a whole new world (not in the Aladdin sense) for Torchwood.
 I could use words like creepy or atmospheric or unnerving – these just do not do it justice. Yes it is all of these things in fact the whole play has a nightmarish creeping dread to it and a downbeat lo-fi feeling. Yes, creeping dread, that horrible feeling that you get when you think something awful is about to happen – it permeates the being of Made You Look like nothing I have listened to so far this year, or in a very very long time – the last time I was this disturbed by an audio was possibly Dark Shadows – “The House by the Sea” or “Beyond the Grave”. This for me is the audio equivalent of Eraserhead or Jacobs Ladder, two films that have always stayed with me as particularly nightmarish, not due to gore or scares but due to the feelings they engendered.
 So what is this lo-fi nightmare all about? It stars Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Marilyn Le Conte as Mrs Rhodes, Ross Ford as James and Matthew Gravelle as The Darkness. A very small cast and a small scale happening. Gwen is investigating the seaside town of Talmouth, a town that has literally died. No one has gone in or out for days, no communication at all – everyone (well pretty much everyone) has vanished. After a disturbing pre-credits we join Gwen in Talmouth an deserted out of season seaside town, empty, dead, forgotten and we begin to unravel the visceral primal horror that has occurred there. There is a voice, a silky, smooth, urbane persuasive voice, it needs you to turn around and if you see him three times then you die, horribly, really horribly. And thats it really, thats all I can say without ruining the story. It goes to some really dark places – the sequence on the beach is particularly haunting in a Silent Hill sort of way – it gets under the skin and stays with the listener in the imagery it creates, this really is not a release for the feint hearted.
 As always when I listen to an audio I listen to it visually – this release for me was filmed in the style of the early 1970’s Amicus films, quite washed out looking and lots of fast cuts – and whist mentioning the 1970’s the sound design is a pure horror nostalgia trip, the theme that follows the story is haunting and downbeat and suits the atmosphere of the story completely.
 There have been some fantastic releases from Big Finish so far this year, and no disrespect to them but “Made You Look” raises the game to a whole new level. With this release Big Finish have a strong contender for release of the year. So, no scores, no pithy comments, just go out and buy yourselves a copy. Oh, and watch out for a voice asking you to turn around……
Made You Look ;-)