A FANTASY movie filmed in Horwich is expected to be a hit in cinemas following its New Year’s Day release.

A Monster Calls stars Sigourney Weaver and the voice of Liam Neeson and tells the story of 13-year-old Conor, played by newcomer Lewis MacDougall.

The reclusive schoolboy is in denial about the dark shadow hanging over his mother.

And while he silently soaks up abuse from a bullying classmate he seeks refuge each night in his vivid illustrations.

As darkness falls and midnight strikes, a yew tree which stands guard over the nearby church magically comes to life and morphs into a gnarled creature, voiced by Liam Neeson.

The monster visits Conor and promises to share three parables.

“Stories are like wild animals. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they may wreak,” growls the visitor.

The creature demands just one thing from Conor in return: “Tell me your nightmare.”

Each night, the creature spins his yarn and the boy listens intently, searching for meaning in the words but he only finds bitterness and confusion.

“Many things that are true feel like a cheat,” warns the creature.

Meanwhile, Conor struggles to speak to his his well-to-do grandmother, played by Sigourney Weaver.

Residents in Horwich saw scenes for the film being shot on Rivington Pike back in October 2014.

Dozens of the film crew were spotted near the Pigeon Tower.

In the film Lewis approaches an eerie manor house, set on top of a hill—Rivington Pike.

For the purposes of the film the tower has been edited out and replaced with the house which is set amongst some trees.

The film, which has been well received by critics and is rated 12A, has been produced by Focus Features after it paid $20m to buy the rights to the book, which was a best-selling 2011 children’s publication by Patrick Ness.

It was based on an original idea by writer Siobhan Dowd, who started the story but died from breast cancer in 2007.

Sigourney Weaver, as Conor’s grandmother, filmed scenes in Huddersfield and Liam Neeson, as the monster, voiced his part in a studio in Barcelona.

“It’s an extraordinary book, and certainly ranks up there with Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales and Grimm Brothers, all those classics,” said Neeson.

“This kid has no one to turn to. Even his mother isn’t telling the truth and he’s desperate to be told, as kids are; kids can handle it,” notes the actor, who lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, following a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

“Treat them like adults. Tell them the big issues in life if they come up. Easter Bunny, Santa Claus; it starts there.”

He has nothing but praise for his young co-star MacDougall.

“This kid, I mean, hello, there’s no acting there. This guy puts Shakespeare’s Hamlet to shame,” he said.

And he also enthuses about Bayona.

“I loved how he nurtures these performances from these kids,” he said.

“The only other person I’ve seen do that was Steven Spielberg.

“He’s got that gift. He doesn’t talk to them as kids; he talks to them as adults.”

Click here to watch a trailer for the film