Film Review: Ghost Stories delivers a dose of creepy horror

Poster for new film Ghost Stories. Picture: LIONSGATE

Poster for new film Ghost Stories. Picture: LIONSGATE - Credit: Lionsgate

Writers Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson make the leap from stage to screen with this film adaptation of their successful play.

The pair also direct and Nyman himself stars as the film’s lead – professor Phillip Goodman.

As an arch sceptic, Goodman specialises in de-bunking cases of the supernatural, but when he is handed a file containing three completely inexplicable hauntings he is forced to re-evaluate his own beliefs.

The film plays out in the form of a horror anthology, with three separate storylines each slightly stranger than the first.

British comedy stalwart Paul Whitehouse shows off his serious acting chops as the subject of the first case, playing security guard Tony Matthews and is thoroughly believable as the traumatised night watchman.

Case two focuses on Simon Rifkind, a young man completely unhinged by a supernatural experience, superbly played by rising star Alex Lawther, in undoubtedly the stand out performance of the film.

The professor holds steadfastly onto his belief that “the brain sees what it wants to see”. However by the time he reaches his third case involving Martin Freeman’s bereaved businessman Mike Priddle, the frayed edges of his sanity are beginning to show.

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With the final act, the film dives straight into surrealist territory as it attempts to weave the separate story threads together into a coherent finale and much will depend on how far the audience is willing to go along with this conclusion.

The fact both writers have previously worked on The League of Gentlemen shines through in the threads of jet black humour and will undoubtedly cause bouts of nervous laughter, during otherwise tense scenes.

Individually each of the three stories hold up as a ‘tales from the crypt’ style dose of creepy supernatural horror, however they give way to a terribly safe and clichéd finale.

Ghost Stories is undeniably a very well acted film with interesting ideas and well executed jump scares, but it’s crying out for a bolder, more ambitious finish.

Despite its early promise, the film’s disappointing final act will leave audiences unsatisfied.

Ghost Stories is showing at Sudbury Quay Theatre on Sunday, July 15, at 4pm. Tickets are £5


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