Something about going a little old school when you’re turning up the creepy…
Hitting VOD in the States and opening for a limited run in New York as we speak, Ghost Stories is a little slice of old school horror that translates from the stage to the screen with results that remind us of the Twilight Zone.
Experience three spine-tingling tales of terror to haunt your dreams. A debunker of all things paranormal, Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) has devoted his life to exposing phony psychics and fraudulent supernatural shenanigans on his own television show. His skepticism is put to the test, however, when he receives a file of three chilling, inexplicable cases: a night watchman (Paul Whitehouse) haunted by disturbing visions as he patrols an abandoned asylum; an edgy young man (Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther) involved in a hellish car accident deep in the woods; and a wealthy former banker (Sherlock’s Martin Freeman) visited by the poltergeist spirit of his unborn child. Even scarier: each of these macabre stories seems to have a sinister connection to Professor Goodman’s own life. Will they make a believer of him yet?
Adapted from a stage play of the same name, Ghost Stories plays very theatrically but it ultimately works as it evokes memories of Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone.
The writer/director team of Jeremy Dyson and Adam Nyman pour themselves into a tale that isn’t necessarily the visceral shock-a-thon that we’ve grown accustom to in recent years but generates a genuine and honest little vibe of creep that slowly but surely burrows under your skin. This is a very British piece horror much a kin to some of the things that we’ve seen from the likes of Ben Wheatley and many others. It’s not about the gore or making us as an audience jump out of our skins, but rather it wants us to keep thinking about the weird shit that we just saw long after the movie is over. Neither Dyson nor Nyman have an extensive background in directing but you can tell they’ve watched episodes of The Twilight Zone with enough of a The Wicker Man vibe thrown in to make us feel like Neil Marshall may have had an illegitimate love child with Rod Serling. It’s a story that achieves a very specific and ultimately very effective mood.
Nyman also stars and carries the action well enough as this mix of an ensemble that includes the veteran face of Paul Whitehouse the underrated up and comer Alex Lawther along with the indomitable Martin Freeman taking us down a very twisted rabbit hole. It’s a different experience to get scared on a psychological and intellectual level, rather than having some hooded sort of Gollum type creature hanging around a corner waiting to kill us. Sometimes the things we have to imagine are actually way scarier than those thrown in our face.
Ultimately; Ghost Stories will fly under most horror radars without too much notice, but that’s too bad as it really gets back to the core of what is truly creepy in storytelling sometimes as it lets our imaginations get us into a whole lot more trouble than anyone covered in blood chasing the co-ed up the stairs ever could.
Ghost Stories is playing theatrically in NY and is available across the US in most VOD platforms.