weirdbutler

LightboxApril 5, 2017

You are cordially invited to the freaky deaky island of And Then There Were None

weirdbutler

With the two-part miniseries now available exclusively on Lightbox, Alex Casey tells you why you need to take a trip to the scary island of And Then There Were None.

What’s the story?

Imagine… if you were invited out to a mysterious island with a bunch of people you didn’t really know, who slowly started dying off one by one under mysterious circumstances. Congratulations, you’ve just imagined both my last New Year’s on Waiheke as well as the plot line of And Then There Were None.

Based on the Agatha Christie novel that once had a much, much ghastlier name, And Then There Were None is set in grey 1939 England, on an island off the coast of Devon. A group of ten guests – strangers to each other – have been invited to stay in Mr and Mrs Owens’ ornate mansion. Empty on arrival but for two creepy as hell butler folk, a gramophone slowly dictates that everyone present is guilty of murder.

After the haunted gramophone speaks, the shitteth hitteth the fanneth as guests start being plucked off by a mysterious killer one at a time. For every death, a freaky green ornament on the table gets removed. The remaining survivors must figure out who is doing this macabre redecoration… even though it could be one of their own…. DUN DUUN DUUUUUN.

What’s the vibe?

Think a less batshit version of Shutter Island. Think a sophisticated game of Cluedo. Think 12 Angry Men with fewer men and more murders, all happening while that creepy nursery rhyme where there are three in the bed and the little one says “roll over, roll over” plays softly on a haunted jukebox.

This series is better than the Cluedo movie Clue, believe it or not.

It’s also a series that delights in every element of the mystery chiller period genre, without any irony or cloying self-awareness. For a series based on a dusty old so-called “book” it manages to be incredibly gripping, often leaving you as breathless as if you were to wake up with, say, a cyanide capsule in your mouth. And Then There Were None also manages to stay completely earnest when a candle flickers spookily in an eerie breeze, likewise when these amazing lines of wry dialogue drop:

Miss Rogers got worse?
Somewhat… she’s dead

Who do you need to know?

Look, some of them die off earlier than others, so I’ll just list the heavy hitters…

Kiwi Legend Sam Neill as General John MacArthur

OBE legend Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave

Douglas Booth from that weird Miley Cyrus movie called LOL as Anthony Marston

Emily Blunt/Rooney Mara hybrid Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne

Noah Taylor and Anna Maxwell Martin as the creepiest butlers In The World Ever

What else to look out for?

Keep an eye on these jaggedy green statues as they slowly become whittled away with every murder

Be prepared for Carrie-goes-to-prom style splashes of blood

And some sumptuous banquet food that would make a Masterchef cry

A delicious dessert dome for a Sir.

How to watch it?

Tuck into the two 90 minute episodes on a rainy evening with a nice goblet of wine and one eye on whoever is sitting next to you. Can’t trust anyone these days, you see.


Click below to join the ill-fated guests of And Then There Were None and, always, be sure to keep an eye on the butler.

This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service

This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. 

You can also check out Get It to Te Papa, a Lightbox Original, made by The Spinoff, that follows Hayden Donnell on an ambitious quest to collect underappreciated Kiwi cultural artefacts (The Waitangi Dildo, the DEKA sign, Suzanne Paul herself) and get them into New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Do yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service and all six episodes of this wonderful show.
Illustrations by Sharon Lam

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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