All I had to do was take one look at this poster and know that this was going to be a favorite of mine. A movie that I would buy for my collection without hesitation. A film that I don’t even need to look at the trailer to tease me with excitement. That is exactly what I did. I went to see this movie during its one week release here in Los Angeles without watching a single trailer. The only things I knew about this movie is the actors who were in it, the title which indicated that I was in for an anthology movie, and the plot description. No regrets, going into this blind or little to know just enhanced my enjoyment into this creepy old school movie of creepy tales of things that go bump in the night.
This 2017 British horror stars Andy Nyman, who also co-wrote and directed this film with Jeremy Dyson, is a skeptic professor Goodman and non-believer of the supernatural. So much, he has decided to make a career of debunking any claims of the supernatural or the paranormal. His idol, who followed the same beliefs, gives him an opportunity to change his ways and open his mind to the possibility that these stories are true by revisiting 3 specific cases that couldn’t be proven to be fake. During this expedition he is questioning his own merits and also his sanity as he slowly has revelations about his profession and his past.
Let me just say that if you are a fan of anthology films no matter the genre, this is the movie for you. What always intrigues me about anthology films is that with each short story, they are always different from the previous. I can always count on getting a different type of plot, antagonist, etc. Also, because they are short stories, the tales gets straight to the point with no lagging. Ghost Stories accomplished both while also being well acted and executing great scares.
The main theme to this film was being haunted by ghost or something unexplained. Each case narrated by someone who really believes in what they saw. Their retelling and flashing back to what happened during their incident is very personal to them. With the short cast, not many people are involved so it gives you this feeling of isolation when they themselves are experiencing the phenomenon for the first time. The three cases involved actors, Paul Whitehouse (The Death of Stalin), Alex lawther (Black Mirror), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes). All of them did a brilliant performance taking us through their characters experience and how it has effected them personally. It is best that you don’t hear much about what each of their stories are about. It will do you good to just hear it for the first time like the Prof is.
What I can say is that the scare tactics in the film are great. Very old-school using dark corners, creepy musical score, or the lack thereof. Also, just watching the film you get a sense of familiarity that these stories can or have been told around a campfire or with a flashlight to the face when you were younger. These stories are very simple, to the point, and a little basic. Which also means these tales are not the most unique of haunting but they still pack a punch the way they are filmed and executed. I personally was engaged the whole time and in addition to the suspense you are given a little puzzle as to what is going on overall with Prof. Goodman as he is starting to experience seeing things he can’t explain as well.
Once the film comes to a close it will all make sense and may even amplify the movie in how well it was told. There have been movies like this that I have seen before so a huge horror fan may call bollocks to how similar it is to other movies in some parts but those who are not used to watching horror films will enjoy the heart racing scenes being shown to you on the big screen.
This movie is worth your time if you like a good ghost story. Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson reminds us that we can be terrified without a huge exposition and just going back to the basics that something as small as fear of the dark can be used to bring out the scaredy cat in us. This is a limited release so hopefully if it is in your neighborhood, take a chance on this title before it disappears; you may not regret it. I was afraid of the dark for about the next 2 hours after walking out of the theatre.
4 ½ out of 5
Thank you for checking out this review. It is always nice to find nice little gems among the big blockbuster movies. For more reviews, please remember to subscribe and be notified of reviews and other movie news in the future. Also, make sure to follow my podcast covering all genres. Currently on Soundcloud and iTunes. Will expand very shortly. Just look up “Movie Geek & Proud” I am also on twitter under @mgnppodcast. Give me a list and tell me what you think.