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Blackwood Review

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Historian Ben (Stoppard), shaken by recent ill-health, moves his young family to a ramshackle new place in the country. But things soon go bump in the night...

★★★★★

Early intimations of folk horror give way to a more psychological mystery, in this tale of an emotionally fragile academic relocating his family to a house where stopped clocks reliably strike and apparitions leave gory handprints. The hoary genre tropes are balanced to some extent by intricate plotting, but even when Blackwood is being clever, it’s nicking from Daphne du Maurier and Alan Garner. Most frustratingly for the audience, the owl-haunted protagonist’s investigations never extend to him asking anybody about all the bloody owls. The big revelation leaves the film stomping around a basement with nowhere to go.

A hokey, cliché-mining horror that boasts the odd haunted-house shock for the hardy viewer.

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