Starring: Sienna Guillory, Mark Strong, Charlotte Rampling, Alice Krige, David Warner & Frances Barber
CDA Entertainment
Certificate: 18
Available now

Julie is a young English woman who takes a job as a nanny with a family in Italy. When a fire devastates the house, she is put on trial for the murder of the baby. Her case is taken on by the respected lawyer Gabreli, and a psychiatrist turned nun, Mother Frances. When it becomes evident that other fires have occurred around Julie, she is soon branded a witch by the press. The young woman continues to protest her innocence, but when she deliberately lies in court her council begins to doubt her...

Disjointed is the word that immediately springs to mind here. Before the opening credits even appear, there are two scenes which are background establishing moments. These are thrown in far too early. As the courtroom scenes are the most cohesive in the film, it might have been more sensible to start here and then tell a back story as the trial continues.

Superstition might very well be based on a true story, but it doesn't do exactly what it says on the tin. The blurb on the video box promotes this feature as a supernatural tale of witchcraft and murder. Hogwash. A bird of ill-omen and some instances of spontaneous combustion do not constitute a tale of witchcraft. In fact, it's intimated by a scientific expert that the fires could have been involuntarily started by the woman, triggered by the guilt at being unable to save her mother years ago from a house fire. The cover picture depicts the key character, red-eyed and holding a flaming cross. There is no such moment in the film, and likewise, a picture on the back showing a silhouetted figure standing before a fire-engulfed Celtic cross. Extremely misleading for the casual viewer, I think.

The truth is, this is a pretty mainstream courtroom drama. It's not the worst film in the world, but it won't exactly set the world on fire, either. That was very nearly a joke, by the way.

Ty Power