Spooky Mysteries in Midwinter of the Spirit

Merrily - Midwinter of the Spirit

Looking for something a bit creepy yet entertaining? If so, I would like to recommend you check out Midwinter of the Spirit, from RLJ Entertainment. It is a three part drama, available streaming on the Acorn TV website. The first episode was available on January 11, episode two will be available the following Monday, January 18, 2016 and then the final episode will premiere January 25, 2016. The DVD is available for pre-order with delivery in March.

Based on the book by Phil Rickman, and set and filmed in Britain, specifically Herefordshire, it tells the story of a young priest, Merrily Watkins, as she starts her new job. Besides the ordinary duties of a parish priest, she also has been selected by the Bishop for the “Deliverance Ministry” – something more commonly known as exorcisms. With typical teenage candor, Merrily’s daughter Jane proclaims it “ghost busting for Jesus.” The special training Merrily has received draws her almost immediately into a bizarre murder.

I would like to be clear that there are some familiar tropes in this program. In my opinion they do not detract from the story in any way, but I know some people do not care for the familiar.

However, let’s look at some reasons you should check it out. I will do my best to not spoil any of it, but it is hard sometimes to talk about a program without discussing any of the specifics, so please forgive me if I let something you consider a spoiler slip!

The View from the Other Side of the Pond
 

Rowenna and Jane - Midwinter of the Spirit

I watch plenty of supernatural programs and thoroughly enjoy the genre, although for the creepiest of tales I do need someone else in the house. And, I also enjoy programs produced in Britain. Therefore the combination we have in Midwinter of the Spirit works very well for me.

One of the aspects of British programming which appeals to me is the point of view presented. I loved In the Flesh and Humans. Their take on the standard concepts, zombies and humanoid robots, was different than the many other programs with similar themes made in the US and Canada present. I think that British writers do a particularly good job of character development and interaction, giving us all the shades of gray and then some, as well as giving us plenty of reasons to like or dislike the various characters – or maybe like *and* dislike them! Nuances are not lost.

In Midwinter of the Spirit, we can see that Merrily is clearly stressed to her breaking point from the beginning. As the show progresses, we come to understand her backstory and why she behaves as she does. This is equally true of her teenage daughter. Her exorcism mentor, Huw Owen, is nicely portrayed and given a sense of humor without losing his brusqueness. And, her daughter’s friend, Rowenna Napier, is a mystery all unto herself and a force to be reckoned with.

Creepy and Eerie
 

Merrily and Huw - Midwinter of the Spirit

With a haunting soundtrack, the music sets the tone of what is to come. In fact, the music used in many horror programs is part of the reason I need to have someone else in the house when I watch the spookiest of the spookies. Creepy music gives me the willies, which is the point of course, and Midwinter of the Spirit delivers in this area.

Furthermore, filmed on location in various locations in Herefordshire, good use is made of old buildings lit appropriately for a horror genre piece. Beautiful old churches can be made very intimidating by reducing the lighting since they tend to have lots of dark corners in those circumstances! Midwinter of the Spirit takes full advantage of every opportunity to heighten the viewer’s apprehension for the main characters and their safety and well-being.

Gripping Mystery
 

Frank and Annie - Midwinter of the Spirit

Do you enjoy mysteries as much as I do? If so, then watch this program and see if you can figure out exactly what is going on. As the circumstances of the characters are slowly peeled back, and you begin to make the same connections as the police and Merrily, the realization of motivations becomes clear.

Will Merrily be able to keep up with the people and otherworldly beings intending harm to others and in concert with the police stop them in time? Will anyone die? Midwinter of the Spirit sets up the premise pretty quickly, and once it does, buckle your seatbelt, because this story waits for no person. or spirit!

 

Hopefully I have given you enough reason to want to watch Midwinter of the Spirit. If you are a fan of the horror/mystery genre, it will be right up your alley! If you do watch it, please come back and let me know what you thought of it! I love to hear what you all have to say!