Blackwood, film review: Adam Wimpenny cranks up the tension in haunted-house horror

(15) Adam Wimpenny, 90 mins Starring: Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles, Russell Tovey
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Adam Wimpenny's haunted-house horror film begins very promisingly with a neurotic TV historian and academic, Ben (Ed Stoppard), moving with his wife (Sophia Myles) and his son (Isaac Andrews) to a new home deep in the countryside.

This is a rambling, dilapidated old mansion whose upkeep he can barely afford on his university salary. The locals, including a priest (Paul Kaye) and a war veteran (Russell Tovey), are all vaguely sinister, at least in his eyes. His sleazy old friend (Greg Wise) has designs on his wife.

The film-makers create a genuinely unsettling atmosphere and crank up the tension in effective fashion as Ben falls prey to visions and his behaviour becomes more and more erratic.

Unfortunately, in the final reel, the film lurches into Grand Guignol silliness and all the suspense very quickly dissipates.