On The Big Screen Reviews

Ghost Stories – Review

Ghost stories…

We’ve been telling them since we first started grunting at one another. We certainly like to thrill and scare one another, recanting tale of utmost horror to make your fellow man and woman squirm. As we

For years, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson have been torturing audiences with their tense and  terrifying stage show Ghost Stories. Not content with soiling the pants of theatre-goers, the pair have adapted their story for the big screen.

And, boy, it does have the same effect on your trousers.

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Ghost Stories revolves around Professor Phillip Goodman who has made a name for himself as a famous supernatural debunker. When a hero of his winds gets in contact, he finds himself challenged by three perturbing stories of horror. Confronting the victims – a night-watchman, a student, and an accountant – Goodman finds himself pulled further into the dark elements of the world. But could there be something more sinister at play?

The first three quarters of Ghost Stories plays out in an eerie toe-curling manner. As your heart races, and whatever piece of clothing you use to shield yourself from any horror on the screen will edge further and further up your face with each second that passes. There is some superb pacing at the beginning. Long drawn out moments, mounted tension, and fake-out frights that keep you on the edge of your seat (or buried in your partners shoulder.) Utlising the greenery and natural strangeness of the British countryside that has gifted us some outstanding classic films (An American Werewolf in London, for example,) Ghost Stories has a classic story-telling vibe to it that stalks most of the movie.  There are enough fearful times here to appease hardcore horror fans.

as the stories are told. Despite some predictable corners, the creepiness crawls down your The acting is on point: Andy Nyman leads the crowd with a guy who flits between disbelieving and unravelling the truth and conveys this with enough of a gun-ho attitude that you want to follow him in these stories. Leading the three tales are Paul Whitehouse, Martin Freeman, and Alex Lawther who bring different components to their parts of the film. Whitehouse as the stoic working class night-watchman spooked by the goings on in an abandoned warehouse. Alex Lawther is absolutely terrific, contorting his expressions so much that you feel for him but also there’s this sinister component happening within him.

Side Bar: I would just like to say that I’m here for everything Martin Freeman does, ever. But can someone please cast him as a dark, evil, sinister character? I believe that is something he would excel a after seeing snippets of an antagonist here.

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And then it all falls apart. The problem is looping them together. The snippets come without a great conclusion and that’s disappointing. It feels we left all three stories half-way through their tales and that lack of completion. It’s disappointing because the movie is going so well up until a certain point where it flips into a hellish nightmare ride that neither feels scary nor succinct.

Ghost Stories is great but disappointing and it’s transfer from stage to screen has missed vital horror story-telling in favour of trying to appease everyone with a satisfying conclusion. See, here’s the thing, sometimes the inexplicable and the un-explainable are very fine and chilling components without trying to nicely tie them into a bow. Whilst I’ll admit it is at first, very clever, the finale is ultimately lacklustre as though.


Ghost Stories is out 6th March 

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