Although it’s a genuinely terrifying half hour of television, suffice it to say there’s little or no humour in The Harrowing. The grotesque Andras, with his cloven feet and bandaged mouth, is the thing of nightmares and the gothic horror is ramped up to 11 but overall the episode is let down by a lack of comedy and an absence of a twist in the tale – two staple elements of Inside No 9.
Seeing a witch trial play out is surprisingly amusing, as Shearsmith and Pemberton go to town parodying the absurdity of the process. There’s a clever use of dialogue – playing with 17th century English – but a lack of excitement in the plot and a relatively predictable ending mean it’s not up to the standard of many of the episodes that came before it.
11. Tom & Gerri
This episode is one long lesson in not judging others or taking things for granted. Seeing how quickly Tom slides from a judgemental man with a steady job to being completely cut off from everyone around him is sobering, but the ending is actually quite puzzling, unsatisfactory and doesn’t feel as if it does the story justice.
Another innovative use of camerawork, Cold Comfort plays out entirely from the perspective of CCTV cameras. Set in a Samaritans-style call centre, the darkly-brilliant script is spot on (“She’s had to take a bit of gardening leave. She had three dead dads in two days, it tipped her over the edge”) even if the the twist at the end, with a suitably horrible final scene, is a little bit ridiculous.
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