When the Lights Went Out (15)


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Based on a true story, this paranormal drama considers the violent haunting of a Yorkshire family, circa 1974.

Tasha Connor plays stroppy teen Sally, first to take fright at the strange bumps and mischief-making in their new council house, which her parents (Kate Ashfield, Steven Waddington) belatedly realise might be the work of a poltergeist. Is the spirit objecting to the house's swirly patterned wallpaper and orange curtains, or is there a malevolent force that actually wishes them harm?

Director Pat Holden brings sincerity but not much subtlety to the drama, which has a slight air of an adult Rentaghost once blackmailed priests and freelance ghostbusters get in on the act.

The title refers to the power cuts of the era, which one presumed the film would make fruitful confusion with the haunting, but it has more interest in moving furniture than blackouts. Like Britain in 1974, it's underpowered.