Sadly not some must-see epic based around an old Dublin bus route, 'The Number 23' finds director Joel Schumacher and star Jim Carrey rattling around in the dark corners of the human psyche but never finding too much that's worth showing.
On his 32nd birthday animal welfare officer Walter Sparrow (Carrey) is given a book called 'The Number 23' by his wife, Agatha (Madsen). The book, which tells the story of a detective investigating a murder and his spiralling obsession with the number 23, begins with the disclaimer: "All the characters in this book are fictitious, and anyone finding a resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, should proceed no further." From the first sentence Walter is hooked and with every paragraph he becomes more and more convinced that the book is really about him - and more and more consumed by the number at its centre.
Built on an intriguing premise - the theory that all incidents and events lead in some way back to the number 23 - 'The Number 23' seemed to have the potential to be a dark and troubling thriller which would leave you with plenty to think about on the journey home. Instead, like many before it, this is a film that gets sillier, not scarier as time goes on.
With its gritty visual style and collision of red and blacks it begins promisingly, and long-suffering fright fans might think that finally something has reached cinemas with a bit of edge and energy. But Schumacher fails to really unsettle his audience and a badly miscast Carrey – hard to separate him from his trademark goofiness – further weakens what's onscreen.
As far as chills go, this doesn't even make up the numbers.