The Enfield Poltergeist (2023) Season 1 Review – A paranormally charged, thought provoking docu-series

Season 1

 

 

Episode Guide

The Happenings
Forces Unleashed
This Thing
Entanglement

 

The Enfield haunting is arguably one of the most famous paranormal hauntings in history. It was huge news back at the end of the 70’s in the UK, with The Daily Mirror running with the story, and it eventually gaining worldwide acclaim. In fact, it even piqued the interest of the Warrens too.

Since then, we’ve had The Conjuring 2, which highlights more of this case in a cinematic environment, alongside numerous documentaries on the situation. There’s even a West End production about to hit London too! 40 years later and this case is still just as prevalent as it was when released. But what really happened? Was it all one big hoax? Was it a genuinely terrifying haunting?

AppleTV+’s latest four-part documentary aims to shed light on this, and paranormal events on a more broader scale. With hours of recordings documented by Maurice Grosse, including interviews with family members, eye-witnesses and experts, you really couldn’t ask for a more comprehensive analysis of the case.

The show is split across 4 hour-long chapters, and it uses actors and re-enactments lip-syncing over Grosse’s recordings. There are also interviews with experts in the field too; both believers and critics alike.

The first 2 episodes basically break down the case from start to finish. We learn a little bit about the economy in the 70’s, along with the tough upbringing for the kids inside Peggy Hodgson’s house. There are telling moments here, including how the family “never went on holiday” and needed to “make their own entertainment”, which plays into that idea of it being a hoax. However, there are also compelling titbits of information about it being real, but I won’t spoil that here for those who aren’t completely clued up on the case.

Episode 3 then turns the attention toward more of the scepticism and criticism regarding the case, spear-headed by Anita Gregory. A hardened sceptic, her role in this documentary helps to level out Maurice Grosse’s take, who is even described as “single-minded and boisterous” by his children, who are now all grown-up.

It’s here where the documentary is much more fascinating and takes on a life of its own. This is especially true as it moves into episode 4 and catches up with Janet, along with other family members and ideas regarding paranormal hauntings and spiritual cases in a wider sense of the world.

Much like a lot of the other content on AppleTV+, this one is way too long. This did not need 4 hours to tell its story, and there’s a lot of repeated footage, even in episode 1. There are three different recollections of a chair tipping over in a bedroom, complete with the exact same photograph being used, before we then get interviews that recap what happened… even though we’ve just seen it.

This is just one instance, but there are numerous examples throughout the series. I get that the idea here is to try and be as thorough as possible and use as much of the original audio to tell the story, but it also slows the pace down to a laborious slog at times.

This gripe aside, The Enfield Poltergeist is a decent docu0-series, and when it branches out and explores the paranormal world at large, the show is all the stronger for it. There’s a nice balanced perspective during these final two episodes that’s somewhat lacking early on, and the show benefits tremendously from it. If you’re a believer or not, AppleTV+’s latest docu-series is certainly worth a watch.

 

The Enfield Poltergeist will release all 4 episodes this Friday, 23rd October, on Apple TV+ worldwide!


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