Directors: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Writers: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse
Genre: Horror / Drama
Psychologist and sceptic Professor Phillip Goodman (Nyman) has spent his life and career disproving the supposedly supernatural with what he believes to be simple, rational explanations. However, when he is given a file containing three unsolved cases of terrifying hauntings, he sets out to solve these cases and provide rational explanations for them, but it takes him down a very dark path.
The horror genre is certainly one that churns out a lot of films these days, and most of them are average at best, but Dyson and Nyman’s cinematic adaptation of their stage play is definitely very much a cut above must of the dross produced by the mainstream.
I have not seen the stage play, so cannot comment on that, but Nyman and Dyson have definitely made a successful transition as Ghost Stories makes use of the various different visual tools that the medium of film offers, to produce a genuinely cinematic experience that creates atmosphere and intrigue in equal measure.
As one quarter of The League of Gentlemen, Jeremy Dyson is no stranger to taking the viewer to some rather strange and disturbing places, and he and Nyman successfully use some familiar genre tropes to maximum effect, while also adding an element of playful wit as they handle the narrative structure, pacing and visual cues with assured confidence.
With there being three separate tales, a slightly episodic narrative is inevitable, but each tale is very well put together and engaging in its own right, and this is also helped by excellent performances from Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martine Freeman as the three respective individuals. Nyman and Dyson also playfully put in subtle little visual cues linking them all with the main overall story regarding Goodman’s own individual backstory very well, adding to Ghost Stories being an overall very satisfying viewing experience.
Inevitably, a film of this kind relies on a twist or reveal at the end, and I will of course not spoil it, but though it is one that perhaps becomes quite foreseeable once the film goes into its final quarter, it is not one that feels cheap or lazy like so many other films of the genre, and makes Ghost Stories an enjoyable, often genuinely creepy experience.
A welcome addition to what is very much an over populated genre; Ghost Stories is directed with assured confidence and is an enjoyable, often genuinely creepy and overall very satisfying cinematic experience.