RETURNING to his dark, ghastly roots, Tim Burton has chosen an X-Men and Groundhog Day mash-up to scare the socks off young ones.
When Jake Portman’s (Asa Butterfield) storyteller grandfather Abraham (Terrence Stamp) dies under mysterious circumstances, the teenager investigates his past, taking him to an island off the coast of Wales.
Though a hidden portal, Jake tracks down a home for peculiar children run by Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine (Eva Green), which featured heavily in his grandfather’s stories.
It is a safe haven for children who have special abilities, who live in a time loop, reliving the same day, to keep safe from the outside world.
But their peaceful existence is soon to be disrupted by Mr Barron (Samuel L. Jackson), who wants to kill peculiar children.
A clunky first half sets up this world with plenty of exposition and familiarity (as mentioned, there is a strong X-Men quality to the plot), but the further it develops, the more ghoulish fun it becomes.
Director Tim Burton returns once again to his signature muted tones and reduced contrast, something he has held off on with his versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
A fight between creepy critters and an army of skeletons is an imaginative hoot, and a nice contrast to some of the more horrific imagery that has come before it.
What appears on the surface to be a kid-friendly outing with its fantastical elements is at times rather icky that children under 10 years old may not be able to stomach.
One moment had me leaping out of my chair with a shock.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (M)
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson
Three and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas: now