The new season of Inside No. 9 can’t come quick enough so the first episode which doubles over as a Christmas episode was a welcome gift this festive season from the BBC.
Once more the genius of Shearsmith and Pemberton was a complete delight to behold.
Anyone who has seen Inside No.9 knows what kind of treat you are in for every time the series starts, if you haven’t seen it then The Devil of Christmas is a great episode to introduce you into the weird world of the series.
Recorded and acted out like a horrible 70s horror movie we see the characters of Julian (Pemberton) and his new wife Kathy (Jessica Raine) trying to spend a Christmas holiday with Julian’s son and mother. Shearsmith’s Klaus tells them the story of Krampus and soon horrible things start happening.
It was truly the perfect part for Pemberton who I love when he goes over the top. He had some absolute crackers in this episode but my favourite scene by far was the dinner one where we see him playing with a plate full of food without eating it. That whole scene had me in tears of laughter and was just so great. Pemberton met his match with Raine though who over acted just as well as Pemberton to give the episode a true 70s feel to it. Jessica Raine was in fact the star of the show going from peppy wife to terrified and ending up as the mastermind of the whole thing, she went through it all in perfect over the top 70s fashion and made the whole thing that much more fascinating.
Whilst the story is going on we get a sort of commentary over the top b the ever amazing Derek Jacobi. From having the whole thing rewound so that he could show us a mistake with the Krampus painting to just enhancing certain jokes like the dinner time one where it was him that actually pointed out the fact no one was eating so your eyes wander all the time to the plates in front of them. When it first happened and the episode went backwards I wasn’t sure I enjoyed it, I think it would f personally for me worked better just having him commentating over the top from the beginning, then again I’ve never been a big fan of commentaries over things unless they are absolutely hilarious ones, I don’t find being given facts whilst watching something that interesting.
You have to give it to Pemberton and Shearsmith though in that they made something that was completely terrifying and had me on the edge of my seat whilst also making me laugh every other minute of the episode. The humour never took away from the story they told within the story they were telling.
Then came the twist.
As always with Inside No.9 there is always a twist and this one was a good one. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know don’t look any further then this, obviously as you can tell I would as I always do recommend watching the episode as it was top class story telling and hilarious all the way through.
But the twist turned it from scary but funny to grim in seconds. In fact they did something a lot of these movies could never do and actually end on a proper horror moment. It turns out that it isn’t a commentary over the top of the film but a police interview and at the end of the film after everyone had finished filming the director came down and murdered poor Kathy in a scene played absolutely perfect by Raine and left me with a chill running down my spine.
Inside No.9 has been one of the best pieces of TV in recent years. Its anthology style means that everything is always different. The lows (La Couchette) are mixed in with the sublime (The 12 Days of Christine, Tom & Gerri) and nothing is ever a like. Every twist has been worth it, every guest has been top class. The Devil of Christmas is no different. They turned their attention to yet a different style and completely nailed it whilst telling a wonderful story at the same time. Truly a masterpiece of story telling.