Based on a stage play of the same name, this is one strange but frightening movie. When I first started watching it, I actually got really scared during the first story and simply turned off the movie. And I rarely do stuff like that. Of course, tomorrow morning everything seemed silly and childish, but that feeling of dread and horror stayed with me, although the movie is pretty well balanced with a healthy dose of humor. Determined to see what the fuck is going on with these Ghost Stories, I started and finished watching it in a second run without a hitch. This being a directorial debut for our gruesome twosome consisting of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, who’s also starring as Professor Goodman, debunker of supernatural, Ghost Stories is truly a great British horror movie. It looks great and more importantly it’s perfectly paced with distinct sections keeping you on the edge of your seat and wondering what’s going to happen next. I believe this stems from the play structure, where you had acts and had to contend with a live audience watching all this unfold in real-time. And it has that dark and gloomy British horror atmosphere, not as disturbing as in Kill List or Eden Lake, but closer to the official, mainstream features like The Woman in Black.
Meet professor Phillip Goodman, a man who has devoted his life to exposing fraudulent psychics and other supernatural phenomena. His television show is very popular and he’s actually proving to the general public that there’s nothing strange and magical about this world we live in. One day he receives an invitation from Charles Cameron, his childhood hero and the man who inspired him to follow in his footsteps, to see him urgently. Cameron has now been missing for more than a decade and Phillip, intrigued by the invitation decides to go to him. When he arrives, Cameron presents him with three cases that have bothered him all his life, three cases that supposedly prove that there is something more to this world and Phillip decides to take the challenge…
Ghost Stories uses all the usual horror gimmicks to scare the viewer and all of them work extremely well. There are a lot of jump scares, incredibly intense scenes and scary sounds that will send shivers down your spine. Not to mention the brooding atmosphere that changes with stories, giving us different flavors of horror. Of course, this isn’t the most original movie and if you’re a horror fan, you have probably seen a lot of movies with similar subjects. Authors are fully aware of this and they used humor along with the main story arc to defuse the situation and make the whole thing much easier to swallow. I already mentioned Andy Nyman, who was great, but all the actors did a hell of a job too. Martin Freeman was great as always, with a veteran of a thousand battles Paul Whitehouse and young Alex Lawther adding even more quality and conviction. In the end, I must mention that I was a bit disappointed with the ending, the stories were so scary and heavy that this type of ending left the movie relatively unbalanced, like a ride that’s really thrilling for some time but then slowly dies down and leaves you with mixed feelings. So, if you’re one of those gritty and nit-picky horror fans, be forewarned.
Directors: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Writers: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Cast: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith