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Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

If you’re like me, you’ll remember Paul Whitehouse doing advertisements for a major insurance company. On the other hand, if you’re like me you’re a postdoctoral researcher with various publications and your own film review blog – what’s that all about? Anyway, in Ghost Stories, Paul Whitehouse makes reference to his advertising background when his character Tony Matthews complains that talking to paranormal debunker Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman) is like getting an insurance quote. But ask questions is what Goodman does, as he demonstrates that the supernatural is merely smoke and mirrors for charlatans who exploit the gullible. Ghost Stories, adapted from the stage play and directed by Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, presents an anthology of Goodman’s investigations, as he is challenged by his idol to take on three cases that cannot be solved by normal debunking practices. The mysteries of the various stories are intriguing and their presentation genuinely scary, as the directors handle the tropes of horror effectively. Deep shadow and suggestive shapes as well as unexpected sounds occupy the film’s wide angled, deep focus shots, allowing for sinister movements in the frame. There is also a pleasing variety between the stories, locations ranging from an abandoned building to a forest road and an opulent but empty house. The conceit of haunting pervades the entire film, both in terms of the individual stories and the wraparound narrative. Particular visual and auditory tropes recur throughout the drama, haunting Goodman and the viewer alike. The film is at its strongest when it suggests and implies, playing on fears and imagination. Explanation and clarification undermine the fears at times, and the experience is not as disturbing as it might have been, largely thanks to perhaps excessive resolution. But Ghost Stories is still an effective and engaging chiller, offering skin crawling suspense as well as major jump scares.

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1 Comment

  1. […] by and large, been impressive. From varied award bait to adaptations of video games, novels and stage plays, franchise instalments to indie gems, January to June provided film delights aplenty. Now at the […]

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