The Awakening
Nick Murphy
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Lucy Cohu, John Shrapnel, Diana Kent, Richard Durden, Alfie Field

There is more than a whiff of stuffy, Downton Abbey-style costume drama about Nick Murphy’s old-fashioned ghost story. It’s 1921 and England is reeling from the lives taken by World War I and a subsequent flu epidemic. Florence Cathcart (Hall), an obsessive debunker of those spiritualists who exploit bereaved relatives by staging fake seances, is invited to an isolated boarding school by schoolmaster Robert Mallory (West). A boy has died in mysterious circumstances, and several frightened pupils claim to have seen a ghostly child at night.

The storyline starts well, taking care to establish characters and events from their past that continue to ‘haunt’ them. However, when it is revealed that Florence was summoned at the behest of the school’s solicitous matron, the script (by Murphy and Stephen Volk) shifts its focus, and our suspension of disbelief immediately goes Awol. A ridiculous revelation undercuts all good sense, as fierce rationality gives way to absurd contrivance and hysteria. Nigel Floyd

Weekly box office: Dhs353,868
Weekly admissions: 10,158
Total box office: Dhs353,868
Total admissions: 10,158