‘Solid scares out of recycled parts’ – Cobweb review | Films | Entertainment

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It feels like there were plenty of cobwebs on the script of this hoary haunted house horror. Its familiar scares revolve around a creepy old pile, bumps in the night and a ghostly girl with a Ring-like fringe.

Yet, French director Samuel Bodin manages to build some solid scares out of these recycled parts.

Eight-year-old Peter (Woody Norman) isn’t enjoying the days leading up to Halloween. He’s mercilessly bullied at school, his gloomy house makes Norman Bates’s gaff look like Barbie’s pad and mysterious bumps and groans have started emanating from the wall next to his bed.

His impossibly pale mum Carol (Lizzy Caplan) claims the creepy sounds are just products of an “overactive imagination”.

His dad (Antony Starr) offers a more logical explanation, sprinkling poison to kill off a pack of unusual sounding rats.

If you’ve seen Starr play a psychopath in Amazon Prime’s The Boys, you may find this less than reassuring.

At least he’s got a kindly new substitute teacher. Miss Devine (Cleopatra Coleman) helps him fashion a Halloween pumpkin, even though his parents have banned him from trick-or-treating.

His parents’ reasoning is apparently down to the disappearance of a young girl one Halloween night before he was born.

Could she be the long-haired ghostly girl who begins to whisper to him from a hole in his bedroom wall?

As is often the case in modern horror films, Cobweb unravels as it lurches towards its clunky final act.

But creepy camerawork and sinister grown-ups keep the tension simmering away in the wonderfully creepy buildup.

Cobweb, Cert 15, In cinemas now

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