While I truly do love horror films in general, the truth of the matter is there is a subsection of the genre I hold in higher esteem than others. That is the anthology film or even TV series like Creepshow, The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Darkside or Trick ‘R Treat to name a few. Although like in the case of Ghost Stories which was released in 2017, they owe a great deal to not only the Amicus anthology films such as Tales From the Crypt and Asylum but to 1945’s Dead of Night as well!
[Via] Swan Seas Grand
Ghost Stories might have originally received it’s release in 2017 but it still hasn’t received a wide release here in the United States. Back in April it was given a VOD release which is how I was able to see it for myself last evening. As I have already stated I truly love horror anthologies so I kept my eyes peeled for a theatrical release…and waited…and waited some more. Quite frankly, I finally just forgot about the film until it popped up just by accident on my iTunes feed. It took me all of about five seconds to hit that rent button as I turned off all the lights and settled in for what I hoped was going to be a chilling good time.
I am happy to say that Ghost Stories did not disappoint me in any way. Right up front I should probably caution that if you are looking for extreme scares or such, you will be disappointed. However if you want a film filled with creepiness and moments of delicious dread that continues to ratchet up to the climax, then I do believe I have the film for you.
Ghost Stories by the way was originally an Olivier award winning play, written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson – Nyman stars in the film and co-directs it with Dyson. Andy Nyman plays Professor Phillip Goodman, a debunker of the supernatural whose life work on television and in books was inspired by events in his early childhood. When he is contacted by Charles Cameron, a famous retired paranormal investigator and debunker himself, he leaps at the chance to meet someone he has looked up to. Imagine his shock however when Cameron belittles Goodman and his own life’s work, angrily admitting he was wrong that there aren’t supernatural forces at work. He challenges Phillip with three cases he was never able to properly debunk, defying him to explain the cases and stick to his belief there is nothing supernatural to them.
Perhaps what I love most about horror anthologies is the different types of stories it is able to tell. This is obviously demonstrated in Ghost Stories with it’s three cases, starting with Tony Matthews, played by Paul Whitehouse. A night watchman who had a shocking incident at a former mental institution for women – although perhaps his own life is the more terrifying situation?
The second case that Goodman investigates involves a teenager by the name of Simon Rifkind, played by Alex Lawther. A young man whose story has more than a few laughs, as he might have run over a demon…or the Devil itself…in his parent’s borrowed car.
With the third case in Ghost Stories, you have what I felt was the scariest of the trio. Martin Freeman portrays Mike Priddle, a man who has had a very unwelcome encounter with a poltergeist. I say this segment is more frightening as it sports the most jump scares but I would add that it in no way feels cheap – the technique isn’t abused in my opinion.
I will admit that isn’t quite all the story but it will serve for what you need to know to get interested in the film. There isn’t a single actor who doesn’t deliver an exceptional performance but it goes without saying that Andy Nyman carries the entire film on his shoulders. In addition while I mentioned the second case has more laughs than the other segments, Alex Lawther is pretty incredible to watch – bouncing from seriousness to the comedic from one second to the next. After it was over I felt a little sad that such a good film didn’t get picked up and see a broad release in theaters across the States, in particular with how well horror films seem to be doing at the moment.
Now doing a little research it appears that the DVD and Blu-Ray for Ghost Stories has yet to be released. Although having said that it appears that Scream Factory is on the case and it will hit shelves on September 4th. You can pre-order your copy at their Official Site but as of now, there are no special features listed which is odd – you would think they surely would get Nyman and Dyson to record a commentary for it!
In closing, if you like a good chiller then I highly, highly recommend picking up or renting Ghost Stories!
[Via] KinoCheck International