Film: Ghost Stories
Director: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Writer: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse
This is an anthology type film from the writer and director team of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman. Nyman also stars as Professor Phillip Goodman. The official synopsis is arch skeptic Professor Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’.
To start off, I just want to give a little bit more information about the set-up of this film. We first get to real about our main character, Professor Goodman. We learn that he is Jewish and grew up in a strict home. This is presented from home movies. We then learn that he was influenced by a television show of where Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne) would debunk paranormal happenings. Phillip follows in his footsteps and we see him defrauding a psychic while he is doing a performance. He always wanted to meet his hero, but he disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
One day though, a package is delivered. Inside is a picture of an elderly man holding up a newspaper from that day as well as some tapes. It is revealed that Charles sent this and wants Phillip to come see him. It is here that Charles is rude to the man that idealizes him. It is then that Charles reveals that he found four cases he couldn’t disprove and wants Phillip to look into them to see what he thinks. As he goes to leave, he looks back at the window. Behind Charles is a hooded figure.
Phillip then seeks out the three men who experienced these supernatural events. The first is Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse). His happened when he was a night watchman for a closed down woman’s prison where a ghostly girl appears to him. The second is Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther) when he encounters a creature in the woods while driving late at night. The final story is Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman). His pregnant wife goes to the hospital and he is visited by an entity. All during this Phillip starts to notice a hooded figure more and more. This will call back to something in his past. Plus there is an image of a window we keep seeing as well. Phillip has to see if he can disprove all of these cases or is there a logical explanation.
Now I have to admit, the stories that we see are really good examples of how to do a haunting on camera. They all made me anxious and uneasy for different reasons. I also think it was a great idea to film them as shorts as they never outstay their welcome while keeping the tension up. They use jump scares, but it isn’t cheesy like many films made today tend to do. I thought they were edited together well and there are certain images to keep an eye out for as they tie back in. I had heard from podcasts that they were disappointed in the ending. I didn’t hate it, but I can see why some might not care for it. It did tie everything together in an interesting way.
I thought the acting in this film was strong. Nyman is great as the professor who in the beginning is confident in his beliefs. The more he learns, the more we see that he is breaking down and starting to lose it. By the ending though, he is broken and I thought it was a good performance. Freeman, Whitehouse and Lawther were all good in bringing three distinct characters. I thought each one was solid. The rest of the supporting cast I thought was good in helping to build the creepy atmosphere for the film.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot in the way of effects for the film. The ones that were used though do seem to be more CGI, but it was seamlessly used. They also use it when they really need to. The rest of it seems to be camera angles and movement to help get the desired effect. I am definitely on board with that and thought what effects used were good. I had no issues there.
Like usual, the score of the film didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. The tension of the film was good, so I will give credit there for not taking me out of it. I can’t get it too much credit though, because I don’t really recall the soundtrack.
Now with that said, I thought this was a good film. It is technically an anthology film and I like what they did with it. I myself am a skeptic when it goes to this subject matter, so I felt what Professor Goodman was doing. I did feel the ending could have been stronger, but I thought the film fits together well. The editing of the film did help and it built tension throughout. The acting was strong in my opinion. There wasn’t a lot done in the way of effects, but what was used looked good. The score also didn’t stand out, but it doesn’t hurt the film. If you like ghost stories or people trying to debunk them, give this film a viewing. It isn’t your ordinary one. I felt this film was good and deserves a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10