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Stars: Aisling Loftus, Tom Goodman-Hill, Hattie Gotobed, Raffiella Chapman, Lukas Rolfe

Director: Sebastian Godwin

Loftus and Goodman-Hill both had pivotal roles in TV's Mr Selfridge series, but discover no such riches in this darkly-photographed, too-short chiller with vague echoes of such far superior films as The Innocents.

From the start, the director makes no attempt to create an initial air of normality which might allow the film to progress to its inevitable darkness, with 'unreal' dialogue the norm, as lovey-dovey newlyweds Holly and Richard drive over to his old home on the invitation (or so Holly thinks) of his ex-wife Nina and their three children.

When the three children appear like vampires from the shadows, the plot's writing is on the wall. The two teenagers (Gotobed, Rolfe) play endless piano duets together and never smile, while youngest Anna (Chapman) is busy burying dolls in the woods. An opening dinner is fraught with tension.

Of course Holly should run (and at the end too - what's wrong with the car?) but, even if she were caught, we'd have little more than a featurette. As it is, she and Richard spend most of their time kissing, further alienating the kids, as if they needed it. And where is their mother? Well, no prizes for the answer to that one.

There's not a lot the actors can do to alleviate the lack of tension, and they're given little in the way of character to work on. The end credits reflect the film's gloom - they're almost illegible. (There is no copyright date on this film)

David Quinlan

UK 2021. UK Distributor: Blue Finch Film Releasing. Colour (unspecified).
71 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Mar 2022