Apparently someone, somewhere, thought it wise to again adapt Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, as if the masterful 1940 film version, directed by no less than Alfred Hitchcock (with extensive oversight from producer David O. Selznick), wouldn’t hang over it like Rebecca herself does over the second, purportedly lesser Mrs. de Winter. There’s no inkling that this was directed by Ben Wheatley, whose films (Kill List, High-Rise), for better or worse, exhibit a distinct sense of style; I’m shocked he didn’t—or perhaps wasn’t able to—explore the perverse class dynamics of the source material, considering many of his films deal in just that. The casting of Lily James as the current, otherwise nameless Mrs. de Winter and Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter is laughable, though I’m reluctant to fault them for not measuring up to Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier, respectively. One can, however, fault them for indulging their respective weaknesses: her, gaping disorientation, and him, doltish nescience. The realization of Manderley, arguably among the story’s most important characters, is similarly underwhelming; it registers solely as the big-budget, digitally manipulated set it is, rather than as one of literature’s iconic locales. Perhaps most offensively, the script, by Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse, degradates the exquisite consternation of du Maurier’s classic novel, smoothing out the refined intricacy that gives the story its ghostly expansiveness. The only good thing about this needless adaptation is Kristin Scott Thomas’s performance as Mrs. Danvers; with nothing else to commend about the film, I’ll give her even more credit for likely having little to play off.