What could be the best horror film of the year is ingeniously crafted with twists and turns you don’t see coming.
Professor Goodman (Nyman), a renowned paranormal sceptic and television psychologist is given information by his dying idol and fellow cynic that the supernatural world they both fought against all their lives is actually true. Goodman must interview three people who have had contact with the dark side, but his nature believes that he can prove them as hoaxes.
We follow Goodman on his quest and each tale is a story mystically horrifying in its own way.
The first is a night watchman’s tale, which begins in an abandoned insane asylum and is quite the creepiest of the three. It sets the scene for the tension to come and the brilliant cinematography really adds to the foreboding atmosphere. The shades of dark and light give it a John Alton feel as if he directed a colour movie. Nyman wonderfully adds to this scene, nervously wondering what could be in the dark and reacting to an unseen force. After visiting a priest, Goodman wonders if there is more to the supernatural than he’s thought to disbelieve.
The second episode is a haunted house story in which Simon Rifkind (Lawther, chewing up the scenery in his performance here) may or may not be imagining there is something unnatural that goes bump in the house. Then there’s the ‘thing in the woods’ to contend with.
The final episode begins with Mike Priddle (Freeman) and his uneasiness at the loss of his wife and baby that haunt him as ghostly spectres. Freeman steals the show in this episode.
There isn’t one bad performance in Ghost Stories. Every cast member shines in their roles. Dyson and Nyman have created a scary film, which is based on the play that they successfully created for the stage and it works very well. It has elements of Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, the spookiness of Night of the Demon and a horror feel as if M. R. James wrote the story. The humour injected in works well with the pacing. The effects are outstanding ranging from practical to crafty CGI. Production design is spot on, bringing to mind the look of the old Hammer films. A definite must see!
GHOST STORIES / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: JEREMY DYSON AND ANDY NYMAN / STARRING: MARTIN FREEMAN, ANDY NYMAN AND ALEX LAWTHER / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 13TH
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10