What ever happened to movie plots? This 1987 first feature by celebrated English horror writer Clive Barker starts off with a potentially viable one, and shows some flair with cutting and framing that bodes well for the future. But at the point where the characters in this magic box/haunted house tale should be turning into something more than cardboard, Barker turns them into chocolate pudding—pulling out all the stops, letting Bob Keen's jazzy special effects take over, and asking plot, character, and logic to take an aimless walk around the block. None of this is the fault of the actors: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, and Sean Chapman are uniformly good for the little they're asked to do. Minor grisly fun, but don't expect the movie to linger when it's over. R, 94 min.
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