The Awakening (Nick Murphy)

Rebecca Hall turns ghostbuster in this supernatural costume drama from debuting film director Nick Murphy.

Set in an orphanage in 1920s England, The Awakening has all the elements of a good fright-flick; Hitchcock-worthy suspense, actors who don’t hold back and a plot twist that will make you jump in your seat.

There’s been a murder at an all boys boarding school and Maud Hill (Imelda Staunton) refuses to believe claims of ghost sightings. No nonsense ghost hunter, Florence Cathcart, is urgently called in and goes about making booby traps Home Alone style, on a mission to expose a hoax.

Inevitably, what goes bump in the night turns out to be more than shadows and superstitions and Florence is faced with more than she bargained for.

Rebecca Hall proves she is worthy of lead roles, exciting spine chills from her multi-faceted character. After admitting to The Telegraph that she had previously ‘shied away’ from roles which demand a strong presence, taking supporting roles in Vicky Christina BarcelonaPlease Give and Red Riding: 1974 (for which she won a Bafta), Hall shows here that she is ready for greater challenges.

Imelda Staunton is indisputably brilliant, delivering understated tension, as if she carries a lifetime of unease and anxiety. Although after Leigh’s Another Year, she can do no wrong in my eyes.

The Wire’s Dominic West also provides a strong performance as Florence’s love interest, on a roll after his convincing appearance in the disappointing comedy  Johnny English: Reborn.

This atmospheric and haunting tale will leave you spooked.

In cinemas from Friday.

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