Directed by: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Written by: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Featuring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Amy Doyle, Deborah Wastell, Deborah Wastell
Professor Phillip Goodman makes a living debunking psychics and other paranormal phenomena, his inspiration and hero , missing for years, suddenly turns up again and gives him three cases that persuaded him that the supernatural is real. Goodman is tasked with investigating them and proving otherwise.
An opinion on this film cannot be given whilst giving away any plot points so as ‘reviews’ go this will be brief.
Ghost stories do not really scare me and so, therefore, I was only ever going to watch this as an enjoyable piece of hokum. Having said that the first tale of three from this traditional British-style anthology was atmospheric, very much grounded in real believable characters and certainly chilling, if not a little ‘what?’ as it concluded. It also proved, once again, that Paul Whitehouse is so much more than a comedy-sketch actor. The second part featuring Martin Freeman, was more ghost-house than ghost-story and final act and ‘shocking’ twist conclusion was silly and although it neatly tied up plot points and the unseen threads running through the tales it where ultimately the wheels fell off what was a good concept and potential ghostly tale.
Unfortunately for the makers, there is too much history for me as a viewer with the Christmas Eve BBC2 ghost stories which were ultimately the superior parents to ‘Ghost Story’. Throw in a bit of Hammer Horror anthology, remember those with Peter Cushing et al, add in 21st-century attitudes and sensibilities and in essence you have Ghost Stories.
I can see some viewers being scared by the stories on display but I cannot help but feel the ending will be a big disappointment for many. The acting is good and reliable and the feeling and look of the cinematography and indeed location shooting really is like the old 16mm stories from the 1970s on BBC2. But therein lies the rub, it is too much like that nostalgic series, not as good, and does nothing original.
If you are easily scared by dark corners, strange noises and unexpected jumps then this will be fun for you. If you what to see something that maybe says or does something different maybe not so much.
Ghost Stories is not a bad film but neither is it really a good film, that is the problem.