A bit of an own-goal by the film studio here.
Hire the most popular actor in the biggest series of children’s films ever, and put him in a film that can be seen by those same children if accompanied by an adult to the cinema, and then scare the life out of them. Harry Potter this is not, and Daniel Radcliffe is not playing a fresh young wizard.
It was a sign of things to come that inside the first 5 minutes, three young girls chucked themselves out of a window in a trance, to their deaths. That would’ve been enough for me to take my children straight back out of the theatre.
So kids film this is not. Dark, creepy and with a theme of murder and revenge, this is an engaging modern-day Hammer Horror picture, like they used to make in the good old days, with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. No requirement to rely on rubbishy CGI trickery here. In fact, there’s not that much blood and guts either.
Big old abandoned house, superstitious locals and ghosts. A good recipe for an old-fashioned gothic horror.
I am surprised to say I rather enjoyed this film, even with my concern about Radcliffe thanks to my dislike of the Potter films. The banshee screams of “The Woman” and her creepy veiled appearance were very effective, and Liz White who plays her is awfully convincing. You’ll be seeing her face at the window for a while after !
Nice little twist at the end, and a sad yet happy finish, though apparently there is a sequel on its way. I suppose that was inevitable given that this film brought home a £100+ million profit.
8/10. Far exceeded my expectations. Might have to track down the book !