Streaming TV highlights: three scary stories

FATAL AFFAIR: Emmett J Scanlan and Emily Reid star in British psychological thriller The Deceived about young student who falls in love with her married lecturer.

FATAL AFFAIR: Emmett J Scanlan and Emily Reid star in British psychological thriller The Deceived about young student who falls in love with her married lecturer.

THE DECEIVED

Stan

IS guilt a powerful enough emotion to send one crazy? That's the question that lies at the heart of UK psychologist drama The Deceived.

English student Ophelia (Emily Reid) is studying at Cambridge University when she comes into the orbit of dashing lecturer Dr Michael Callaghan (Emmett J. Scanlan), who is married to best-selling author fiction writer Roisin (Catherine Walker).

Soon Ophelia and Michael begin an affair, which results in an unexpected pregnancy.

Upon unknowingly meeting her husband's young mistress at a book launch party, Roisin tells Ophelia to beware that, "not all women are allies. Some are the enemy."

Roisin's advice takes on new meaning with she dies in a house fire after Michael reveals the affair at their Irish country manor. Ophelia quickly takes Roisin's place within Michael's Irish home but she begins to hear noises and have visions of the writer.

As Ophelia learns more about Roisin's life from her friends and family in her hometown, she becomes increasing torn with the guilt of beginning the affair with Michael.

The Deceived is an interesting mix of drama, gothic horror, and murder mystery.

Scanlan is convincing as the manipulative Michael, who slides effortlessly between charming intellectual and insecure and jealous.

At four 45-minute episodes, The Deceived doesn't wear out its welcome to provide a fast-paced and twisting plot. It's perfect fodder for a weekend binge.

FAMILIAR HALLS: Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance in Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.

FAMILIAR HALLS: Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance in Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.

DOCTOR SLEEP

Netflix

WHO can forget a crazed Jack Nicholson smashing through a door to attack his wife played by Shelley Long in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining? It was truly terrifying depiction of domestic violence within a backdrop of arguably the spookiest hotel ever.

Decades later the dark mind of author Stephen King conjured up The Shining's long-awaited sequel Doctor Sleep. Then last year director Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald's Game) brought the supernatural horror to life on the big screen.

Doctor Sleep follows Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor), the little boy from The Shining, who is now middle-aged, traumatised and battling alcoholism. Meanwhile a cult of vampire-like people, led by the delectable Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), are trawling the US in search of children with the shining to murder and feast on.

This eventually brings Torrance to the aid of Abra (Kyliegh Curran), a teenage girl with extraordinary supernatural powers, who is being hunted by Rose The Hat.

Doctor Sleep the film closely follows the novel, before the final act steers towards a different ending which pays homage to Kubrick's masterpiece. Unfortunately Doctor Sleep lacks the claustrophobic terror and isolation of The Shining, but it's a satisfying sequel helped by impressive performances from both McGregor and Ferguson.

Search Party: Alia Shawkat as Dory Seef.

Search Party: Alia Shawkat as Dory Seef.

SEARCH PARTY

Stan

If ever there was dark comedy to suit today's twenty-somethings, this is it. At times, it feels raw, but damned, the characters seem so real, so familiar.

The four lead actors are outstanding, led by Alia Shawkat as Dory Seef, John Reynolds as her boyfriend, and John Early and Meredith Hagner as their two best friends.

While the premise of the series appears thin - Dory becomes obsessed with finding an old school friend who has gone missing, the interactions among the four as they gain momentum in this seemingly nonsensical pursuit, are increasing complex and entertaining. Early as the over-the-top gay Elliot Goss is a scene stealer, but so is Hagner, as a young actor so full of confidence that she often tips right over the top.

REVIEWS: JOSH LEESON and JIM KELLAR