Unwelcome review – Irish folk horror that’s away with the fairies

The latest addition to the rich seam of Irish folk horror – films such as You Are Not My Mother and The Hallows, which tap into the earthy regional mythology of malicious fae folk – Unwelcome takes a thuddingly basic approach to the “far darrig”, or little people, before unravelling into a wigged-out Hammer Horror-style climax in search of a coherent ending.

Pregnant Maya (Hannah John-Kamen) and her husband, Jamie (Douglas Booth), are understandably spooked by a violent home invasion in their London apartment. So when Jamie inherits a cottage in rural Ireland, it seems like the perfect solution. Jamie is enraged by the lackadaisical timekeeping of the builders, but Maya realises they have other, smaller problems. The unnerving high-pitched giggling from the woods and the requirement for daily “blood offerings” to the little people probably should have been a giveaway. The picture works better when it keeps its monsters hidden, but swiftly descends into silliness once the far darrig show their ugly muppet faces.