Saturday, 7 July 2018

Ghost Stories

"Ghost Stories" (2017, Andy Nyman, Jeremy Dyson, Altitude Film Entertainment, Warp Films, Catalyst Global Media, Screen Yorkshire, Lionsgate Films) is an anthology film based on a stage play.

Philip Goodman (Andy Nyman) is a Professor who debunks fraudster psychics and other paranormal healers on his TV show. He explains at the beginning of the film that his disdain for such beliefs arose out of his own experiences where his strict, religious father disowned Philip's sister for dating someone whom he did not approve of.

Philip is thrilled to be asked by his hero, Charles Cameron, whom he had thought deceased, to investigate some cases that he had been unable to resolve himself. Cameron tells Philip that he no longer believes that there are no ghosts. Philip pursues the three cases, keen to prove the old man wrong.

Philip visits first a night watchman (Paul Whitehouse) who believes that he was haunted by the spirit of a dead girl. However, he also has guilt over not visiting his own daughter who is ill and Philip believes that the watchman is simply haunted by his own guilt. This segment was perhaps the slowest, and I did find myself a little bored. Although, I do like Paul Whitehouse.

Philip is then introduced to a strange young man (Alex Lawther) who believes that he ran the devil over when joy riding in his father's car. However, Philip observes that the boy is obsessed with the occult and has a dysfunctional relationship with his parents and so surmises that the boy has simply imagined it. This segment did not go the way I was expecting, but I can't help but think that more creep factor could have been made from the parents.

Finally, Philip meets a Financier (Martin Freeman), who explains that he was haunted by a Poltergeist during the birth of his child. His wife died during the ordeal and the child, it is intimated, is abnormal; but in what way it is not revealed. This segment was my favourite of the film and featured a shocking scene that was delivered with such calm sobriety from Freeman that it made it all the more chilling.

Returning to Cameron, Philip begins to experience strange happenings of his own and the film takes a bizarre and unnerving twist that somewhat saved it from being yet another anthology horror.

The film was somewhat slow burning and some scenes were extremely dark, however, I enjoyed the various reveals throughout and the cold, cold ending.

[Image: Altitude Film Entertainment, et al]