ghost stories

DIRECTORs: Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson (debut)
STARRING: andy nyman, martin freeman, paul whitehouse, and alex lawther

REVIEWER: lyall carter

★★★★★

Professor Phillip Goodman devotes his life to exposing phony psychics and fraudulent supernatural shenanigans. His skepticism soon gets put to the test when he receives news of three chilling and inexplicable cases -- disturbing visions in an abandoned asylum, a car accident deep in the woods and the spirit of an unborn child. Even scarier -- each of the macabre stories seems to have a sinister connection to the professor's own life.

For some people music is the 'soundtrack' of their lives. It moves, impacts, and almost defines them. For me it has always been movies.

 

I remember the first time I saw Casablanca on VHS and being transported to another time and place. Or when I was working at a one screen cinema and asked the manager if he could run V for Vendetta for me before the print had to be sent on to another cinema and how it completely arrested me. I remember watching the James Bond marathon on Sky TV at my grandparents house with my brother and being completely blown away by the action, the gadgets, and of course the girls. There are some films that just stay with you, that you will always remember. Ghost Stories is one of those films. 

Phillip Goodman successfully debunks all things supernatural until he is presented with three different but equally terrifying cases that up to this point, have never been explained. The night watchman's terrifying vision of a ghostly child, a teenagers vision of a barbaric animalistic creature from another realm, and a businessman's disturbing encounter with a poltergeist. But everything is not as it appears...

Based on their 2010 play of the same name directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson have crafted a film that is destined to become a cult classic. Its clever but subtle in its cleverness, never showing off; how incredibly British. Every element of Ghost Stories is a triumph with all the pieces of the production playing their part in bringing together something magnificent. 

The story is quite simple and it follows a certain similar trajectory for a certain part of the film then takes a 180 degree sharp turn that will leave you dumbfounded - in the best possible way. Ghost Stories is the kind of film that demands repeated viewings to pick up all of its subtle touches that you may have missed. Directors Nyman and Dyson do bring the chills and the scares and manage to successfully ratchet up the tension throughout. 

The acting, as is to be expected in any form of British production, is absolutely first class. Andy Nyman is terrific as Professor Phillip Goodman as he tumbles head first further and further down the supernatural rabbit hole. Alex Lawther (you may remember him from The Imitation Game and The End of the F***ing World) is outstanding as the completely emotionally wrecked teenager. And Martin Freeman. Absolutely brilliant in an increasingly maddening kind of way throughout. 

Destined to become a cult classic Ghost Stories will scare and astound you. One of the most original films this year. Go see it. Now. 

★★★★★

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