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At the same time as The Or­phan­age di­rec­tor JA Bay­ona was div­ing into block­buster wa­ters with Juras­sic World: Fallen King­dom, his erst­while writ­ing co­hort Ser­gio G Sánchez was mak­ing his di­rec­to­rial de­but with this richly at­mo­spheric but de­riv­a­tive self-penned hor­ror.

Ge­orge MacKay heads up the cast as the el­dest son of a fam­ily who, in the late ’60s, flee Eng­land for a crum­bling gothic pile in ru­ral Amer­ica. Soon af­ter they ar­rive, how­ever, a bul­let is fired into one of the win­dows and the movie cuts to a “six months later” cap­tion. We have to wait un­til the last reel to find out what hap­pened, though sea­soned hor­ror watch­ers will be able to piece it all to­gether.

There’s much to ad­mire in Sánchez’s hand­some chiller, from com­poser Fer­nando Velázquez’s lush or­ches­tra­tions to MacKay’s per­fectly coiled turn as the pro­tec­tive Jack, but there’s too much that’s fa­mil­iar here, and the de­noue­ment owes more than a lit­tle to The Or­phan­age. Sadly, The Se­cret Of Mar­row­bone doesn’t come close to match­ing that film’s bone-deep chills, and while it may hold sur­prises for genre new­bies, hor­ror-heads with longer mem­o­ries may prove harder to se­duce.

Ex­tras Deleted/ex­tended scenes (27 min­utes); a vis­ual ef­fects reel. Steve O’Brien

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