Review: Bertie Carvel's 'helium' voice is the scariest thing in ITV's supernatural thriller The Sister

It’s Halloween, season of mists and mellow spookiness, and to mark the occasion, ITV has brought us four-part supernatural thriller The Sister (ITV, Mon-Thurs, 9pm).

Friday, 30th October 2020, 7:31 pm
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 7:44 pm

Unfortunately, the story, written by Luther author Neil Cross, just wasn’t supernatural enough, and definitely wasn’t thrilling.

Russell Tovey played Nathan, a mild-mannered greetings card salesman who was somehow wrapped up in the disappearance of a beautiful young women, Elise, one New Year’s Eve.

His carefully-ordered world is torn apart when a lank-haired, bearded Fagin-esque character called Bob (Bertie Carvel) shows up at his front door with a ghostly recording and a deathly demand.

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Bertie Carvel starred as Bob in supernatural thriller The Sister

Nathan is all stammering oddness, while Carvel’s Bob speaks with a really curious Larry the Lamb-style voice, and they’re both so weird that you wonder how they ever made it out of their bedrooms, let alone to a glamorous New Year party where Nathan cops off with Elise.

There’s some good use of horror tropes, with isolated woodland shrouded in mist, lonely roads, and creaking houses, but none of it amounts to anything, and the one effective jump-scare comes 10 minutes from the end of the four hours.

It has a good idea relating to how ghosts might be ‘created’, but you get the feeling it would have been dealt with much better by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith in a half-hour episode of Inside No.9.

Meanwhile, your attention wanders to wondering how Nathan and wife Holly can afford such a gorgeous mid-century house, and why no one turns a light on.

As Halloween scares go, The Sister is a very poor relation.

I’ve watched the last two episodes of Roadkill (BBC1, Sun, 9pm) and – like The Sister – that’s four hours of my life I’ll never get back. It ends with a whimper and never lives up to its pre-showing publicity.

If you want some mild scares for Halloween, why not search out Evil (Alibi, Mon, 9pm)? From the team behind The Good Wife, it’s got some shocks, a few laughs and it’s well-crafted.

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