Ghost Stories Review

Ghost Stories

Beliefs are a funny thing.

Take religion, for example – there’s nothing funnier than a full grown human being telling me that they believe in god.

And the funny thing is, in order to get into each and every one of their one true god’s afterlife, you have to believe in and worship said deity.

Perhaps all supreme beings are insecure, ego maniacs?

Not far behind god on my patented ‘belief laugh-o-meter’ lie ghosts, and you won’t find many Ghost Stories that bring more laughter than those brought to us by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman.

Professor Phillip Goodman is a man of science, debunker of superstitious hokum and explainer of the unexplainable.

Which kind of makes him sound like some arranged groom for Daenerys Stormborn.

We’re introduced to the good professor as he interrupts the smoke and mirror act of some high end spiritual fraudster in the middle of his show to untangle the truth from this wouldbe preacher-man’s fiction.

Goodman’s belief in logic and rational thought is absolute – the one thing he puts his faith in… but this faith is put to the test when a package from his childhood hero and fellow paranormal investigator, Charles Cameron, arrives from beyond the grave.

Presumed dead since disappearing some 30 years ago, Cameron has delivered a challenge to Goodman from beyond the grave – to unravel three unsolved cases that shook Cameron’s own certainty in science, and lead to his subsequent disappearing act.

With the baton passed onto to the next generation, Professor Goodman begins to investigate this trio of mysteries to see if he can succeed where his inspiration failed.

But what Philip discovers is that even men of science choose to believe what they want when faced with an inconvenient truth.

Ghost Stories is the latest addition to the so hot right now horror genre that’s been given a much needed reinvention in the last few years.

And thanks to co-writers and directors Dyson and Nyman, this newest thriller – adapted from their stage show of the same name – has a quintessentially British flavour to it.

Trading heavily on the historical horror tropes fans of the genre will be very familiar with, Ghost Stories does the smartest thing any horror film can do.

It lets you imagine your own fear.

Sounds like a simple thing, which is why it’s so surprising that a lot of filmmakers get this bit completely wrong.

Nyman’s multitasking extends to him playing Professor Phillip Goodman, the vessel for our journey through this trio of Ghost Stories, while Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther and Paul Whitehouse introduce the three mysteries he has to unravel.

And as we delve deeper into the professor’s investigation, we get a closer look into his mind and why Goodman believes the things he does.

Funnily enough, most peoples reasons for believing what they do are pretty much the same right across the board – born of avoiding the painful truth about something from their past.

And just like all those religious nutters who’d rather believe in whatever ancient chinese whispers they so desperately cling to, there’s a shock in store for a lot of non-believers out there too.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2018