Ghost Stories (2017)
Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’.
Man, I love me an anthology and this British horror ghost collection is no exception. It’s fucking weird though, which is hardly surprising given the involvement of The League of Gentleman co-writer Jeremy Dyson.
Skeptical Pro Goodman (Nyman) makes his living debunking all manner of supernatural goings on. If there’s a dodgy séance going on in a chilly church hall, he’ll be there to expose it for what it really is: a pile of steaming bull crap. Straight up, the Pro does not believe.
When he receives a mysterious summons from an old inspiration, he’s tasked with uncovering the so-called truth about three so far unexplained ghost sightings. These stories revolve around a night watchman (Whitehouse) in an abandoned asylum (what good could ever come of those words, I ask you?), a beastly haunting in the woods and a pesky poltergeist.
Will these stories chill Goodman’s blood and turn his head forever – or will he see the strings and disprove them once and for all? Well…
I saw this early as part of Odeon cinema’s Scream Unseen and I was pretty stoked about it. Based on the stage play of the same name, also by Nyman and Dyson, it’s genuinely creepy in places. It’s also bat shit crazy and plays with structure, keeping the traditional format fresh.
Unlike most anthologies, it keeps things tight with no truly weak links. I think my favourite setting is the asylum (which comes down to personal taste) – and Paul Whitehouse blew me away as the rattled former night watchman who has no explanation for what he saw one fateful night.
We also meet Simon Rifkind (Lawther), a young man too scared to sleep after an altercation in the woods with something inhuman. Lawther to me is one of our best new actors, catching my attention in the deeply distressing Shut Up and Dance episode of Black Mirror and most recently in The End of the F***ing World. His Simon is borderline deranged and can you blame him?
Lastly we spend time with banker (and new dad) Mike Priddle, who lives in a grand old house in the country. He tells the story of his own personal haunting and it’s a dozy, obviously.
Each of the segments display the sense of humour you’d expect from this team and the climax is pretty special. It might not be for everybody but I appreciate it for what it is – a ghost story that plans to stick in the mind, not fade from memory seconds after the credits roll.
I hope people will see this and love it. It’s just so nice to see something on the big screen that’s brings something new to the table. There are so many mediocre American horror films being churned out – sometimes you just need a little injection of something new.