There’s nothing in this horror anthology that genre fans won’t have seen before. However, Ghost Stories, adapted by writers/directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson from their stage play, is nonetheless an efficiently entertaining film, delivering a moderate amount of chills, shocks and twists.
Spook debunking TV presenter Phillip Goodman (Nyman) is contacted by a fellow, older arch-sceptic, who had mysteriously disappeared some years previously. He challenges Goodman to investigate three hauntings, and explain them rationally. Goodman does this, looking into a scary abandoned asylum, a peculiar demonic manifestation in a forest, and a third spectral encounter involving a rich man’s dead wife. Then things get weird.
Ghost Stories owes its biggest debt to superb horror anthology Dead of Night (a rare non-comedy Ealing project from 1945), but also draws inspiration from Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon, as well as every psychiatric hospital shocker from The Cabinet of Caligari to Shutter Island. It’s well acted, from a cast that also includes Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and a scene-stealing Martin Freeman. The transition from stage to screen works fairly well. In addition, themes of repressed guilt and faith versus scepticism are touched on, though not in ways that are especially profound.
All things considered, Ghost Stories is well worth a look if this is your cup of tea.