THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)

Cert 15 Stars 4

A 21st century makeover is given to H.G. Wells’ 19th century classic story in this slick, scary and daftly entertaining slice of Friday night popcorn horror which delivers gas-lighting from beyond the grave.

Originally planned as a big budget star vehicle for Johnny Depp as part of Universal Pictures blockbuster Horror-verse films, it’s been reconfigured as a low budget project for the #MeToo generation by Blumhouse Productions, who along with trusted writer and director Leigh Whannell, previously made The Conjuring horror franchise.

The story is given fresh impetus by being told from the victims point of view, as well as tech-billionaires, online stalking, and computer hacking.

Star of TV’s Madmen, Elizabeth Moss anchors the action with a wonderfully twitchy performance as Cecilia, the survivor of an abusive relationship. But after her ex is found dead, a campaign of terror by an unseen assailant makes people doubt her sanity.

Old school special effects mix effectively with modern CGI, plus there are cheeky nods to the iconic film version of 1933 and Schwarzenegger’s Terminator 2. See if you can spot them.

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THE GRUDGE

Cert 15 Stars 2

This belated reboot of a long dead Hollywood horror franchise is reasonably coherent, borderline competent but not the worst horror film I’ve seen this week.

I don’t know what dark satanic pact Andrea Riseborough fell foul of to deserve to star in this, but credit to the talented Geordie who gives her all as a detective cop and widowed mother of one.

She’s investigating a series of deaths centred on a creepy suburban house, which suffers from a Japanese curse which once you’ve encountered is impossible to escape.

In its favour it relies on physical effects not CGI, and the sound design guys do their damndest to make you jump. As a grown man hides in a closet, there are several unpleasant deaths, bodies in the bath, crazy old crones and a velour bathrobe made me shiver.

But most terrifying of all is how all this good material manages to be consistently deathly dull. At least you don’t have to have seen any of the previous films in the series to dislike this one.