Original Title: Ghost Stories
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
A skeptical, who debunk fake con-men psychics, is given three cases that could change his views about the supernatural world.
Not to be confused with A Ghost Story also from 2017.
After a very repressive childhood, Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman, also one of the directors) grow up to be a lonely man who debunks psychics who prey on the superstition of vulnerable people.
This beginning resembles a little of Red Lights (2012), a movie featuring Robert De Niro that I intend to review here in the future.
He began with this practice after watching the work of Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne) in the 70’s. Goodman turned his admiration of this man into his own work, becoming quite good at it.
Goodman receives in his mail a package containing a cassette tape with the voice of Charles Cameron, who everyone believed was dead, setting up a meeting with him. Of course, the man decides to go meet his longtime reference.
In a little trailer by the coast, he meets a very frail old man, who insults him and give him the three folders, each one containing a case Cameron himself could not solve and made him change his mind about the supernatural.
The investigation begins with Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse), a man who used to work as a night watch in an old asylum. After some weird noises, passing shadows and lights turning off, he sees something he can’t explain.
Then, Goodman goes to the house of Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther), a teenager who has many pictures on the walls of his room, all related to demons, satanism and things of this sort. One night he went out with his father’s car and encountered a creature in the forest.
The third and last case is about Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman), in a beautiful open field the investor tells Goodman about how he was haunted by a poltergeist during his wife’s pregnancy and how things got even worse when the wife is about to give birth to their first child.
The movie would have been amazing if they didn’t completely destroy the ending. I really despise the ending, this kind of twist was better in the early 90’s, and in 2000’s it reached its limit, now it’s just cheap.
After the twist, we understand some clues left throughout the whole investigation like we’ve seen it countless times before. I don’t think everything should be new or original, but some tricks work well the first time and get worst and worst gradually.
I could keep saying how disappointing the ending is, but it’s time to move on to the better aspects of it, and there are great things to mention.
I don’t believe in the supernatural, so ghosts and demons don’t scare me and I am not the kind of person that turn the lights on to go to the bathroom at night after watching a movie. That being said, I can see how Ghost Stories is a genuinely scary movie.
With the creepy imagery, well-crafted suspenseful scenes and even some good jump scares, the movie manages to entertain in the best way a horror movie can.
As I said, the suspense is really well-crafted, and the acting makes it even better. The absolute terror in Tony’s eyes seeing the inexplicable is one of the best examples, amazing acting by the veteran Paul Whitehouse.
Another good example of how well made are the scenes and the acting together, is the scene with Simon in the car, afraid to face the creature he encountered. The scene has also a nice dose of humor, something that is very perfectly inserted throughout the movie.
I really like Martin Freeman, to me, he is one of the great actors of our generation and here he doesn’t disappoint at all. In the role of Mike, he shows how good he is in the many phases of the character.
A highly important aspect for a horror movie is the sound and Ghost Stories is an example of great use of sound. From the minimalist score to the explosions of loud sounds and of course, every sound in between.
They know how to use the sound perfectly to build the tension and ultimately to release the tension in a competent and relevant way.
Then, there is the cinematography. So good, almost perfect, sometimes resembling The Damned United (2009), I think a lot of it because of the similar settings. However, The Damned United is slightly better in this aspect.
I think Ghost Stories had everything to be a horror film of the highest quality possible, but then they threw everything away with the ending, putting the film in some kind of mediocrity purgatory.
Sometimes, a bad ending doesn’t change much my opinion of the whole movie, but in other instances, it does. In movies like Ghost Stories, I feel like I’ve been lied to because everything was going fine until they ruined it with the ending.
I loved the movie with the exception of the ending, and if they landed a nice ending, I believe it would be 9 Moons. The ending is 1 Moon, but if I liked the rest so much that I could not give a bad rating, so I decided to give 7 Moons.