Friday, October 04, 2013

My Review of The Psychopath Next Door

Written by Julie Rutterford
Directed by Kieron J. Walsh

Eve (to Marianne): "Only bad girls win."

I have to admit that despite the odd US import here and there, I'm not really partial to SkyLiving. After all, some of their own original programming can be questionable (who the hell does Mount Pleasant appeal to and why?) but like BBC3, I did find myself intrigued by the fact that they're road testing five pilots (as part of a Drama Matters season) to see which one will be suitable for a series. One of the others, titled The Last Witch will be another one I'll be looking into in a future blog.

In The Psychopath Next Door Anna Friel (Brookside, Pushing Daisies) stars as meddling shrink, Dr Eve Wright who moves to a random suburb, befriends a trio of ladies - Marianne (Eva Birththistle), Imogen (Kathryn Drysdale) and Catriona (Claire Keelan) and sets about causing some havoc within their inner circle in a bid to gain control over them with mixed results.

Eve as a sociopath character is certainly an interesting one to watch and Friel certainly seems to revel in playing the character, partially in a caricature manner but also with some little nuances here and there. Eve's penchant for ruining people's lives was established early in the pilot by the fact that she had driven some woman named Elaine into a psych ward and the fact that she then managed to cause the woman to be shocked was a pretty bold move.

Of course, it wasn't just Elaine that knew Eve was a wrong one. There was talk about a woman from Connecticut as well as Marianne's daughter, Katie - the only other character outside of Eve with a modicum of intelligence. Of course, Eve got her own back at the girl by flashing her and wrecking her telescope but eventually Katie's words managed to sink in as Marianne seemed posed to provide an actual threat to Eve should this pilot actually get picked up as a series.

However, I should point out that despite Eve's crazy antics (arranging Marianne to be ran over by a stolen car), the pilot did try to inject some sympathy for her with revealing that Eve had an estranged relationship with her elderly mother. I'm not sure if this will be enough to make Eve a slightly sympathetic character and if this does get picked up for a series and more people begin to see through Eve's facade, how long will it be before she resorts to murder?

Overall,  as a pilot, it was certainly an enjoyable one to watch but it definitely feels like a centre piece for Friel more than an ensemble piece. None of the other characters really came alive, except for Marianne at virtually the last minute when she wouldn't let being near crippled be a means for Eve to take over her group, so I guess a battle of wits with those two could sustain a series. I wonder how long we'll have to wait to see from SkyLiving if this Dexter-esque pilot can run as a series.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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