Tim Burton directs Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Samuel L Jackson in this quirky, gothic tale of freak children hiding in a timeloop sanctuary from monsters who want to eat their eyeballs.
Like Sweeny Tood, this feels like an acceptable echo of what the formerly brilliant Tim Burton can achieve if he engages with his source material. Stuck in the middle of this film is an hour long hoot where we gently meet and interact with all the strange younglings, get hints of their personalities and potential dramas. If that middle hour was a pilot for a TV show you’d be hooked. A ghoulish and visually stunning Party of Five or Dawson’s Creek with Eva Green as the big name adult showing the youth how to steal the show. The problem is the opening and closing acts that bookend it all. We take far too long to get to the titular home and after an admittedly thrilling prologue it’s a trudgy route taken. While the close is actually about three finales crushed into one, with the established tone drastically shifting from magical to knockabout, and only Samuel L Jackson’s full fat villian managing to keeps things popping. The most promising of these climaxes sees Butterfield’s relative norm leaping through eras to reconnect with his new love lost. Frustratingly this promising premise should have been the sequel rather than a rushed afterthought. Still if this disturbing little romance does get a second shot then more pipe smoking Green and floating Ella Purnell and moody Scottish adolescent reanimators with less forced plot would actually be most welcome.