Star rating – 6/10
Somewhere in this post First World war supernatural tale is a good film waiting to get out – but unfortunately it doesn’t quite make it. Rebecca Hall is her usual highly accomplished and watchable self as Florence Cathcart, a young woman who is determined to let science triumph over superstition. She makes it her business to expose any charlatans posing as mediums and spiritualists with her objective facts.
Dominic West plays a schoolmaster at a boys’ boarding school in Scotland (although actually the location is the beautiful Lyme Park in Cheshire, the very place where Colin Firth famously emerged from the lake as Mr. Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, but I digress...). He asks Florence to help with a strange case of a boy ghost and the death of one of the pupils. Not one to shirk a challenge, off she goes, albeit slightly reluctantly, as she seems to have ‘ghosts’ herself.
Some of the film is good, with a couple of moments to make you jump, but other parts are just too contrived for words. In the end you don’t really care about any of the characters, including, sadly, the wonderful Imelda Staunton, who plays the matron. So top marks for the performances and the atmospheric house, but the plot falls short of putting it into the same category as some of the great ghost stories, like ‘The Orphanage’ or ‘The Others’ .