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Marrowbone follows the eponymous British family, who’s fled some unknown danger in England and hunkered down in the mother’s secluded mansion in America. When the mother falls terminally ill, she makes her children swear to keep her death a secret so they won’t be separated. Then a man with a gun arrives, something happens that the film refuses to show us, and we’re whisked to a scene several months later, when the siblings are busy baking cakes, playing games, and jumping at sounds in the bricked-up attic. The eldest lad, Jack (George MacKay), schemes to keep a suspicious American lawyer away from his family while wooing a sympathetic librarian. Slowly—very slowly—we discover the sinister reasons why the Marrowbones were forced to leave their home country. Characterization seems to be the problem overall. A few jump scares aside, it’s hard to feel frightened for the family when they have one or two personality traits each. The first major twist, explaining the presence of the ghost, lands with a muffled thud, as no one appeared to be in much danger in the first place. With the exception of Mia Goth’s sensitive, nervous performance as Jack’s sister, everything about the film feels lackadaisical. by Joule Zelman
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Sergio G. Sánchez
Charlie Heaton, George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy