THE WRETCHED

Cert 15 Stars 2

This US slasher horror aspires to be a dark fairy tale for a modern age, but is mostly a familiar mix of teenage fear, skinny dipping, blood letting and jump scares.

John-Paul Howard plays the terrifyingly ordinary teen Ben who has moved in with his dad for the summer only to discover the mother of the young family next door has started to behave strangely, and mysterious symbols are appearing scratched onto windows and tree trunks.

Co-director’s Brett and Drew Pierce apparently claim their script is inspired by their parents’ divorce and a love for Roald Dahl’s The Witches, but I’m not convinced the author would approve of the way his kids story reinvented with a deathly lack of imagination as a standard tale of a teenager fighting local bullies and supernatural forces.

It begins with a flashback to a Rubik’s Cube, and the scratchily written caption which tells us this was 35 years ago is probably the most shocking moment on show.