Dr Who Review: Night Terrors

Dr Who Matt Smith Daniel Mays

Dr Who Review: Night Terrors

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

In this “bottle” episode, the Doctor finds himself called to present day Earth where a little boy living on an estate desperately needs saving from the monsters in his cupboard.

Best Moment: Loved the shout out to Poltergeist with the Doctor and the boy’s father getting dragged into the closet. Also thought there were some fantastic one liners throughout, including Amy’s line: “I found, um, scary kids.”

Verdict: Steven Moffat has proven time and again that he’s good at scary Who and Night Terrors is no exception. The creep-factor is certainly on the level of the Weeping Angels in my opinion. Writer Mark Gatiss cleverly taps into all those little things that used to scare us as children: the creepy old lady across the way? Yep. Clowns? Yep. Scary dolls that come to life? Got that too.

As a bottle episode with a limited budget and not following the story’s overall arc, it does very well in creating chills. The seemingly pedestrian location of a housing estate is turned upside down as the scary thoughts of a little boy become amplified.

Speaking of little boys, Jamie Oram does a fantastic job being both sympathetic as the terrified little boy, and also a little creepy. Of course, the creeps get ramped up even more, when it becomes clear to the Doctor and George’s father Alex (played by Ashes to Ashes’ Daniel Mays) that Show ▼

As you can probably tell, I quite liked this episode. It was a welcome change of pace after all the heavy emotional stuff with Amy, Rory and River Song/Melody Pond. I did however think it was odd that the Doctor went off on this adventure without so much as a mention of the fact that they are still supposed to be searching for the baby Melody. Or is that no longer the case? It seems to me that it should still be of great importance, particularly to Amy and Rory.

Regardless of whether or not they are continuing on their search, I think what’s sorely missing right now is an emotional response to the whole River situation. We saw a little bit of it in When a Good Man Goes to War, but that’s been about it. I realise that Doctor Who is for children, but if you’re going to delve into such dangerous territory as parents having their newborn child kidnapped to be raised by psychopaths, you have to invest in it emotionally, and so far that hasn’t been the case. However, that is a quibble about the overall and has little to do with Night Terrors in particular.

I suppose my biggest issue with the episode is in the way that it quickly wraps up. Show ▼

Even so, I think Night Terrors very much set out to do what it intended to do: Tell a very enjoyable, scary story on a limited budget.