GHOST STORIES (2017) is a solid British horror film with some great old-fashioned creepy scares, but tie together into a central story that ends in a fairly meh gotcha.
Written by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman based on their 2010 stage play, GHOST STORIES stars Nyman reprising is role in the play as Professor Philip Godman, a TV host who debunks psychic frauds. When a hero of his, Charles Cameron, who had disappeared years earlier, contacts him to ask him to explain three inexplicable events, he sets out to investigate. Raised by a repressively religious father, Godman’s core belief is that everything can be explained, and that the brain sees what it wants to see.
What follows is an anthology of three creepy ghost stories told by a night watchman, teenager, and a rich financier (played by Martin Freeman). When each story is being told, there is a sense that everything is not quite right. Godman doesn’t investigate so much as simply hear the story out and do some poking around. Places are either empty or populated by mysterious figures. As for the stories themselves, that’s where things get really fun. The acting, situations, mood, and pacing perfectly build tension toward a great scare/climax.
At the end of the film, the stories tie together in a big reveal. They do, and it’s a nice twist on the theme, but it didn’t land for me with quite the same impact as the rest of the film, and felt too familiar even while it’s supposed to be edgy.
Overall, GHOST STORIES is one of those surprisingly engaging gems you find in the indie horror scene–fun, creepy, and engaging. While it didn’t come together in the end in a very satisfying way for me, I appreciated the effort, and I loved the ride getting there.