We don’t often see stage plays turned into feature-length films in the genre realm. Mainly because there aren’t many horror plays out there. In a way, that works to our advantage since these movies tend to fail to transition from a live play into a silver screen masterpiece. However, this British duo not only wrote a horror stage play, but they turned it into a feature-length film successfully.
The story follows Professor Goodman, an arch-skeptic, out to expose fraudulent psychics. His success brings him to a 70’s paranormal investigator, Charles Cameron. Cameron, now sick and living in poverty, asks Goodman to investigate three cases he has marked as “unexplained cases”. Goodman goes on the quest to clarify these three supposedly real paranormal sightings.
The slow burn British-horror, written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, is a horror movie that this generation has been asking for. Not only are our three cases haunting, but the feature delivers a jarring closing chapter. There are quite a few jump scares throughout the film, however, the writers don’t solely rely on these to give the audience the spooks. The setting, atmosphere, and music – the minimum amount used – work together harmoniously to create an unsettling mood.
At first glance, GHOST STORIES appears to be an anthology hidden in a feature-length film, but the coherence of the three stories will become more apparent as the minutes roll by. With the exception of a couple of twists and turns, things are kept fairly simple, and the simplicity is what makes this an effective horror film. The fact that the stories told are ones we can share around a campfire is what makes this one a standout among the pool of paranormal movies released today. The story is divided between the three cases and the main storyline, and the only flaw is the balance between the two. While the three ghost stories are well written and effective, they fail to be memorable and lose the battle against the main story.
As great as the story is, it would be nothing without its strong leading cast. Alongside writing and directing, Andy Nyman also plays the main character, Professor Goodman. Nyman delivers his role well, but he is a bit overshadowed by Martin Freeman (Fargo, Black Panther) and Alex Lawther (End of the Fucking World, Black Mirror). Due to the anthology feel of the movie, we don’t get much time to learn about our characters but even in that short period of time, you learn just enough to be able to put yourself in the characters shoes and be able to go through their fears and emotions. Also, the characters’ actions and reactions are reasonable and believable.
The entire team behind GHOST STORIES does a great job putting together a horror film that sticks to the basics yet delivers something fresh and unsettling. The cinematography team deserves praise for making this one pleasing not only to the eye but eerie to the faint of heart. Most importantly, the writers deserve the biggest standing ovation for putting out a horror story that not only delivers scares but also a great storyline.
GHOST STORIES is out in select theaters now.
Ghost Stories [Review]