Oh BBC, you so classy. That’s right, it’s time for a made-for-TV BBC short film. And boy, does this film not feel very short at all. This little gem is a 40-minute adaption of the MR James short story of the same name. James is a post-gothic story writer who, in large part, is responsible for the creation of the trope of the quiet scholar who, through some sort of magical artifact, winds up facing off against a supernatural power. His stories took the foundations of the gothic sub-genre and evolved them, focusing heavily on atmosphere and having a very relatable, realistic character face some highly abnormal ghost or other types of malevolent forces.
The story focuses on a cranky douchebag professor who gets a room at the local English tavern. Maybe he's not a jerk, maybe he's just classy. No, he's a jerk. After Goldilocks-ing his first few rooms, he settles into room Number 12, where madness ensues. Is he in our world? Is he in the void of Number 13? Does anyone care?
To say this is a slow burn is an understatement. If you are a big fan of MR James, Masterpiece Theater, or super slow gothic movies, then you are welcome. If not, don't waste your time!