In one of the best British horror films in years, Ghost Stories produces some outstanding performances from its cast, along with some spine tingling scenes of terror that will have the audience on the edge of their seats.
In the film, Professor Philip Goodman (Andy Tynan) – a renowned sceptic of all things supernatural and acclaimed presenter of the TV show Psychic Cheats – delves into three cases of unresolved ‘hauntings’.
The cases involve three mentally scarred men (Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman) who have all suffered paranormal episodes.
In the first ‘ghost story’, Whitehouse plays a cheerful but slightly eccentric night watchman who works the night shift at an old deserted children’s home.
Things start to go awry however, when the mains power cuts out half through his shift.
Things then get distinctly creepy when, on investigation, he discovers that some of the rooms in the children’s home are not what they seem.
In story number two, Lawther plays a paranoid and jittery teenager who lives a solitary life with his overbearing parents; spending most of his time in his locked bedroom.
As he tells his story to Professor Tynan, it turns out much of his paranoia comes from a night when he borrowed his parents’ car without permission (or a valid licence) to go to a friend’s party.
While returning home late at night, the car breaks down in the middle of the forest, and things go from bad to worse.
In the final story Martin Freeman plays a successful financial broker whose pregnant wife is admitted to hospital – and he soon finds himself under siege by a poltergeist in the nursery.
This section is particularly spooky and the audience’s perception of fantasy and reality is really tested in this part of the anthology.
Ghost Stories works so well on many levels – mainly because of its characters’ remarkably polished performances.
Tynan is especially good as the cynical non-believer whose own dysfunctional background also comes to the fore.
Interestingly, the film is adapted from the original hit horror stage play by Tynan and fellow playwright Jeremy Dyson, which was performed to rave reviews in 2010.
Of course, it is a difficult challenge to adapt such a play to the big screen but Tynan and Dyson have definitely succeeded – although the outcome is probably more spooky and unsettling than horrific.
Nevertheless, lovers of the horror genre will not be disappointed – especially with the macabre and unexpected ending.
Ghost Stories is showing exclusively at Luna Leederville from October 25, 2018.
By Mike Peeters