A horror film is a hard thing to do well. Most horror movies are predictable, with overused tropes and twists turning the story from scary, to sub-par. Ghost Stories, from writers and directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, is one of those horror movies that doesn’t fall flat.
Ghost Stories follows arch-skeptic Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), as he stumbles across a long-lost file containing three cases of inexplicable hauntings. With demons, ghostly little girls and a surprising twist, this movie is the epitome of a horror film.
It is uncommon for a movie to instill fear, dread and hilarity in the audience. Despite being one of the scariest movies of the year so far, the movie was able to have fun with itself, bringing a much-needed break to the intensity of the themes themselves. The main reason for this hilarity was Alex Lawther, who played the skittish Simon Rifkind. His comedic timing and ability to come across as genuinely mad is a highlight of the movie.
The cast itself is stellar considering how small it is. Martin Freeman brings a creepy kind of humour to the final third, which crescendos the movie to its climax perfectly. Andy Nyman plays the skeptic brilliantly well, his arrogance and conceitedness bringing the character to life without overshadowing the other characters. Paul Whitehouse, although a strange choice, plays the anti politically correct night watchman surprisingly well, bringing a sense of uneasiness to the audience whenever he is on screen.
It is unsurprising that the movie is slightly trippy. Jeremy Dyson, of The League of Gentlemen, takes his signature style and amplifies it, taking the final third of the movie to a very strange, but very interesting place. Had the movie not had this twist at the end, it would have been a bog standard horror movie that no one would have talked about. The twist isn’t the most original, but it certainly brings a different layer to the film other than just being scary.
This film, however, isn’t perfect. Although the twist is welcome, it is slightly predictable. This doesn’t detract from the enjoyment factor of the movie, but it is slightly annoying. There are plotholes as there are in any film, and most of the actor’s performances are overshadowed by the brilliance of Alex Lawther who stole the show completely. It is a good horror film, but by no means is it the best.
Ghost Stories really puts British filmmaking and writing at its forefront, showcasing some of the best British talents on offer. It utilises the Yorkshire landscape as its backdrop, bringing the eeriness of Yorkshire history to the forefront and elevating the story beautifully. Without a doubt, it is an exceptionally well-made movie.
This movie is definitely worth a watch. Horror movies are a hard thing to get right, but when they are done right, they can be some of the best films ever made. By no stretch of the imagination is this one of the best movies ever made, but it holds your attention for the 90 minute running time, and it is a good example of a horror movie. It is definitely worth a watch.
For more horror at Movie Metropolis, check out the top 5 Halloween movies for that extra little kick of Michael Myers.