What's it about: 'Only we could get lost in the English countryside and find ourselves trapped in The Wicker Man!' While on vacation in England, detective Tony Peterson and the witch Cassandra visit Tony's estranged cousin Lord Trent Malkin and his wife Ruby. The two couples team up to investigate the disappearance of a maid from the manor and a series of murders by an ancient cat cult. Complicating things are hostile villagers, an unfriendly vicar and amateur sleuth, Miss Emma Simon. Who can be trusted in the village of Little Bascombe? And if the legend of a Devil Cat wandering the countryside in search of souls to devour is true, are Tony and Cassandra about to face the greatest threat of their lives?
PI: It's also nice to catch up with family members of regular characters because it allows us to see them in a whole new light and a fresh dynamic. Trent and Tony have never been close and he only told him he was coming to England out of courtesy. He has lingering feelings of jealousy about his cousin because he was always made to feel as though he was better than Tony. He was often blamed for Trent's misdemeanours to the point where even his parents would collar him for things that he never did. When his dad died and his mum wasn't coping, Tony felt as though his Aunt Claire could have done more to help her sister. All these things have been brewing in the back of his mind for sometime and the result is a general ambivalence and resentment about his cousin. He comes from a long line of stubborn idiots who can't leave things alone even if they should. Tony is in love with Cassandra and his feelings are out in the open now, whether either of them want them to be or not.
Standout Performance: Well well well...how lovely to hear Sarah Sutton playing something other than a prudish orphan girl from Traken. Whilst I am pleased that the Dark Shadows range has avoided the temptation to fill its releases with performers from Doctor Who (it gives the series an identity of its own), the odd appearance of a well known voice is a most welcome treat. Sutton proves how versatile she really is, bringing to life an elderly investigator in the Miss Marple vein. She is portrayed as such an innocent doddery old spinster that I had her pegged as the villain of the piece from her first appearance. What a surprise when she turns out to be nothing of the sort! And what another surprise when she turns out to be playing another role entirely. More twists and turns than a visit to Alton Towers!
Audio Landscape: The car swerving off the road, a mewing cat, a shouting mob, birdsong, a terrifying scream, crackling flames, music playing over dinner, rumbling thunder, lightning tearing through the sky.
Musical Cues: Lovely, maniacal music from David Darlington when the secrets have all been spilled. He's like a mad musician, bashing away on a church organ to stress the melodrama of the climax.
Standout Scene: The moment we have been waiting for ever since the Tony and Cassandra turned up in the Dark Shadows audios has finally arrived...it looks as though they might finally drop their barriers and share a kiss. The music is especially wonderful in this scene, the performances even more so.
Result: 'We never finished our dance...' A delightful departure from the norm for the Tony & Cassandra thread of Dark Shadows, this is a satisfying hybrid of Agatha Christie and supernatural horror set in rural England. Mix together old family wounds, a dotty old spinster with an eye for detail, the developing relationship between the leads, a supernatural feline that has developed a mythology of its own and some seriously dodgy cult action you have a hugely entertaining adventure to enjoy. One that traverses genres with some skill. I knew with a title like that there would be at least one sequence with hissing, squealing cats and I was dreading it...an angry cat attacking is one of the most terrifying things imaginable (the most frightening moment in Ghostwatch is the climax with the chorus of angry moggies). I have two cats myself...so thank you very much Mr Passmore for making me eye them suspiciously tonight! What really satisfied me though was the consummation of Tony and Cassandra's relationship. Dangerous events seem to bring them closer together and they have now confessed their feelings for each other. The story itself deserves a solid 8 but because of the dramatic last minute developments that threatens to tear the two lovers apart forever, I award The Devil Cat two thumbs up in the form of: 9/10