Horror Movie Review: Ghost Stories (2017)

Ghost Stories is a British horror film that was written and directed by Andy Nyman & Jeremy Dyson. It is based on their 2010 stage play of the same name. Nyman reprises his role from the play as Phillip Goodman, a man who’s devoted to debunking fraudulent psychics. He is tasked with solving three unexplained paranormal events.

Phillip receives an invitation to visit a famed 1970s paranormal investigator, Charles Cameron. He has been missing for decades and is now living in a caravan, sick and old. Cameron asks Phillip to investigate three incidents of supposedly real supernatural ghost sightings. Seeing as Charles is his childhood hero, Phil accepts.

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The first case is a night watchman, Tony Matthews. He reluctantly explains to Phil that his wife had died of cancer. After this, he stopped visiting his daughter, who suffers from locked-in syndrome. Naturally, this has left him guilt-ridden. He tells a tale in which he was haunted by the spirit of a young girl while working in a disused asylum.

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The second is a teenager, Simon Rifkind. He is obsessed with the occult and has a poor relationship with his parents. He frantically tells Phillip about a night in which his car broke down after running over the Devil in the woods. Although unsettled by the second case, Goodman believes that each of them has an obvious rational explanation. The third case is Mike Priddle. He was plagued by a poltergeist while awaiting the birth of his child. His wife’s ghost appeared to him as she died giving birth to an inhuman child. After telling his story, Priddle commits suicide with a shotgun while talking to Goodman.

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Upon returning to Cameron, Phillip discovers that everything he has been told might not be as it seems. In fact, it will make him question everything and force him to confront his own inner demons. I can’t say much more without major spoilers.

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Ghost Stories is an enjoyable ride that raises some interesting points about a person’s belief in something and whether that belief is worth destroying as long as it brings them comfort. Well, there’s actually much more to it than that. The beginning of the film lead me to believe it was headed in a certain direction but it takes some surprising turns. After a certain point, the film is transformed into something else entirely.

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I found each of the 3 stories to be interesting enough. Although, none of them are particularly original or unlike something you haven’t seen before. Still, they are executed well and helped greatly by some quality performances and wonderful cinematography. This is a very British horror film, some of the dialogue used by certain characters is painfully accurate. It’s hard to know if it was intentional or not but Ghost Stories is highly amusing. Alex Lawther in particular is downright hilarious.

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Everything that leads up to the big twist in Ghost Stories is simply fine. However, the big reveal is what makes it stand out. I can’t say much but it alone makes this film worth your time. There are intelligently littered bread crumbs that lead to the shocking conclusion. It’s the type of finale that will likely be divisive but I enjoyed it even if it is very sad ultimately. Ghost Stories is a bit of a mess tonally but it manages to succeed in a number of ways. Still, the ending is risky and it leaves a few aspects unclear.




Ghost Stories
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
7.0/10
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