HIM review - Carrie for the millennials leaves me unconvinced

It can be tough being a teenager '“ raging hormones, acne, exams, the pressures of social media, nosebleeds, telekinesis...

Friday, 21st October 2016, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:03 pm
Fionn Whitehead stars as the nameless Him in the new ITV drama of the same name, which started this week

Wait... what?!

Well, if you believe HIM (ITV, Wednesdays, 9pm), that’s what being a teenager includes these days.

The new drama introduced the so-far nameless 17-year-old Him (played by newcomer Fionn Whitehead, all shaggy hair, cheekbones and sullen disobedience) as he struggled to come to terms with his divorced mum and dad starting new families.

Marooned in the middle, seemingly not particularly welcome in either household, he is isolated, alienated and increasingly prone to bouts of boiling rage which erupt in displays of psychic violence – chisels dance menacingly above stepdad’s head, and car bonnets fly open at 70mph on the motorway.

Gran, similarly isolated and alone, although this time in a care home, knows about his gifts – her husband, his grandad, was also afflicted, but his story ended in a mysterious tragedy. “You’ve got to control it,” she tells him.

A budding romance with stepsister Faith could help, but then stepmum tells him he’s no longer welcome to ‘drop by’ and the cupboard doors start rattling.

HIM is good on the alienation of teenage life, not a child, not yet comfortable in an adult world, but as a horror it’s a non-starter.

We’ve seen puberty as metaphor in films like Carrie and Ginger Snaps – which is well worth seeking out by the way – but HIM doesn’t seem to want to go the bath of blood over the head route.

It’s not odd enough, not dark enough, just not scary enough to convince, and in the end you feel it would work better – and find a more receptive audience – as a series for tweens on CBBC than on primetime ITV.

Similarly simplistic, but slightly more illuminating, was Your Face Says It All (Channel 4, Tuesdays, 8pm).

A rapid run through the ways your face can give away your ever-changing moods, it was like a internet listicle in TV form, but was very watchable, and imparted some interesting little facts, including that smiling does improve your mood, so if you force yourself to grin, it will make you feel better.

Maybe HIM should give it a try.