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Bishops Castle Film Society

Ghost Stories - 21 Nov 2018

dir. Andy Nyman & Jeremy Dyson. UK. 2018. 98m

We are not, as a Society, much given to the horror film, or so it seems looking back over the long list of films we have screened over the past four decades. It is, then, perhaps time to try one out. Ghost Stories owes much to the dark comedy of the League of Gentlemen troupe (Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Mark Gattiss) in which this film’s co-director Jeremy Dyson was a major inspiration, mostly from behind the camera in the television series. With this pedigree, therefore, we might expect something a little different from the traditional shock/horror conventions of many box office horror productions. Dyson plays Professor Philip Goodman, an academic and broadcaster who is an arch debunker of the supernatural and those who trade in it.


However, his beliefs are put to the test when he is asked to look into three mysteries that have defied the analysis of one of his rationalist heroes from the past. These case studies form the basis of the film and are handled with verve and a certain individual style, while never neglecting the staple cinematic tricks that have caused horror films to frighten us over the years. The anthology format of the famous Dead of Night (1945) is apparent. The cast of Ghost Stories is excellent – with Paul Whitehouse and Martin Freeman (who has come a long way since The Office) outstanding.

Nyman and Dyson have devised a fantastically well executed screenplay which touches on a variety of themes from antisemitism to childhood bullying, and while the film is decidedly male-centric, it does however present an alternative to the usual macho stereotype by offering up these men as mostly flawed, and at times tormented by their own fears. (Linda Marric, Jewish Chronicle, 9 April 2018)



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