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With: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Nicholas Burns, Louise Atkins
Written by: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Directed by: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 98
Date: 04/27/2018

Ghost Stories (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Grave Situations

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This old-fashioned anthology horror movie isn't terrifying or scream-inducing; instead, it's closer in spirit to the moody, clammy, atmospheric English movies of decades past that lovingly inspired it.

In Ghost Stories, Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman) is the star of a TV show debunking supernatural and paranormal phenomena. He is invited to meet with Charles Cameron, a paranormal investigator who originally inspired him, and Cameron gives him a file containing three unsolved cases. The first involves a security guard (Paul Whitehouse) who sees a ghost while working the night shift in an old asylum.

The second is about a teen boy (Alex Lawther) who claims to have hit something unholy in the woods with his car. The third is Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman), an expectant father, who received a visit from a poltergeist. Goodman returns to Cameron, claiming that all three cases are easily explainable, via psychological means, but Cameron has at least one more shocking surprise up his sleeve.

Nyman, along with Jeremy Dyson, co-wrote and co-directed Ghost Stories, based on their hit stage play, and what the movie lacks in that real-life theatrical connection, it makes up for in eerie, clever cinematography and editing. The asylum in the first segment consists of pitch-black corridors running off into infinity, but it's far from neat and tidy; it's littered with decades of sinister refuse.

The teen boy's room is decorated with occult drawings, of demons and monsters, making a simple doorway seem terribly unsettling. Weirdly, one of the creepiest sequences takes place in an open field in broad daylight. The filmmakers beautifully utilize the onscreen and the offscreen, the seen and the unseen, using sounds and clever cuts to suggest, rather than show, its horrors.

Anthology horror movies usually have a weak spot, and here it's the wraparound story. Savvy horror fans will no doubt groan at how things unfold, but Ghost Stories is so stylish and so satisfying, that it gets by on its spirit alone.

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