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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Stars: Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Samuel L Jackson, Chris O'Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench

Director: Tim Burton

Director Burton would seem to be a perfect fit for an adaptation of Ransom Riggs' bizarre book, although expectations are only partially fulfilled by the results. Skirting dangerously close to a 15 certificate, this fantasy-adventure-horror will be too strong for younger children.

Our hero is Jake (Butterfield), a 16-year-old from Florida who seemingly has both psychiatric problems and a weird grandfather (Stamp) desperate for the gun that Jake's father (O'Dowd) has locked away. On a visit, Jake finds grandpa's home wrecked, with the old chap eyeless and expiring in the wooded ground beyond. Jake sees an equally eyeless monster before grasping his grandfather's dying words: 'Find Emerson. Go to the island. Take the Loop. The bird will explain everything.'

Finding a postcard in the house of an island off the coast of Wales, Jake resolves to go there; his psychiatrist (Janney) thinks it a good idea, and father and son are soon on their way across the Atlantic. Once there, Jake discovers the burnt-out ruins of Miss Peregrine's eponymous home.

The next day, he follows a circuitous route through rocky caverns and comes to the school as it was in late summer 1943, just before it was destroyed by a German bomb. Here are Miss P (Green) and her 'peculiars' - a sort of junior X-Men group.

Each day, they stop time just before the bomb drops, and so live the 3rd of September over again for ever. But the Disaffected, led by a white-eyed, shape-shifting Jackson, and their 'Hollows' are on their trail, feasting on eyeballs as they go.

UK's Butterfield is a serviceable lead with a strong American accent, and the final battle between peculiars, skeletons and monsters is jolly good fun in the Ray Harryhausen tradition.

David Quinlan

UK/USA/Belgium 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Technicolor.
121 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 07 Feb 2017

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