review: It's a chill wind that blows no good

The proper ambition of a supernatural tale should be to freeze the blood in your veins but Chiller (ITV), in step with the more contemporary forms of horror, seems just as interested in making blood flow. You're not very far into "Prophecy" before the first victim takes a dive, propelled by a passing car through a plate-glass window. Her head ends up an impractical distance from the rest of her body and the blood in between is then prettily dappled by the sprinkler system. Is this frightening? Not much, but it will satisfy the horror fans' sanguinary sense of style, and Chiller is much more about meeting expectations than confounding them.

The cause of all the trouble, for instance, is that notorious alarm-clock for the undead, a ouija board session, conducted by a mini-bus full of reckless young people underneath an Italian caf. They're just having some spooky fun, poor fools, undeterred by the leaves swirling ominously around the cellar or by the message they receive -"Non Omnis Moriar" ("I shall not entirely die").

It looks like they've got away with it too, though the beautiful Francesca soon witnesses that grisly decapitation and the title that follows ("Five years later") suggests that something really nasty is biding its time. Sure enough the participants start to go down one by one. First Francesca spots one old friend outside the British Museum, doing a passable imitation of Uncle Fester and refusing to meet her eye - he's dying of leukemia. She learns that another has been shot by muggers in Washington and yet another has been struck blind. Francesca has bad dreams and wakes to find that somebody has snipped the heads off her roses and arranged them on the carpet. She takes all this very much in her stride, I must say. Indeed, even after she has discovered that her new boyfriend's family motto is "Non Omnis Moriar" and that the black sheep of the family was a satanist and paedophile she retains the same dreamy equability. It later turns out she's been possessed by the evil Marquis, though she's so vacant in the early part of the film that you can perfectly understand why he might have thought it was all right to move in - if ever there was a legitimate case for squatting, Francesca is it. "Prophecy" has some fairly unabashed fun with the genre fixtures - eerie wind effects, sinister staring children appearing in all the wrong places, but it had too much plot on its hands to ever quite get round to frightening you.

The last episode of Hearts and Minds (C4) completed Drew's miserable education in the politics of the classroom. There was, for the first time, a hint of self-pity about the plotting, a sense that a grievance had been artfully constructed. What's been excellent about the series has been its capacity to wrongfoot your sympathies. So Drew's confrontation with Trevor, the cynical black teacher, has evolved from episode to episode and scene to scene, an encounter of crude idealism and pragmatic politics which eventually leaves you frustrated at Drew's obtuseness. At home, too, he isn't the simple hero. Last night, though, the combat seemed less real. Forced to take on the school play by the headmaster, Drew starts to pull off one of the little miracles of enthusiasm that make him so likeable, proposing a multicultural musical version of Julius Caesar. And then, just as it's working its magic on the surly and uncooperative, the headmaster steps in to insist on pure Shakespeare or nothing. This arbitrary villainy seems artificial somehow. Wouldn't an inner-city headmaster leap at the chance of Drew's project? But then, if he doesn't object, there are no grounds for the drama's final moment of triumph, a subversive chorale from the stage, in which teachers are upbraided and the headmaster hung in effigy. It was presented as Drew's last blow at the system that had pushed him out, but it felt more like a surrender.

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before