‘The brain sees what it wants you to see’
Ghost Stories is a 2017 British supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentlemen) and Andy Nyman. The latter stars alongside Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse and Alex Lawther.
The film is a cinematic adaptation of the stage show of the same name, which ended at The Arts Theatre, near Leicester Square, in London in 2015. Since the movie’s release, the theatrical performance has been revived at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2019.
Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), psychologist and arch-sceptic, has his rationality tested to the hilt when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of terrifying ‘hauntings. Shaken by what he has read, Goodman embarks upon a quest to find rational explanations for these stories.
As Goodman investigates, he meets three tormented people, each with a tale more frightening, uncanny and inexplicable than the last. Security guard Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse) spent a night in an empty warehouse that has haunted him for years.
Teenager Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther) took a late-night drive in a forest that has rendered him unable to sleep and finally Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman) a brash ‘money man’ who has had his worldview shaken to the core by the unquiet spirits that apparently inhabit his otherwise perfect house.
As Goodman digs into their stories, his carefully maintained rational world starts to dissolve around him…
Scream Factory and IFC Midnight released Ghost Stories on Blu-ray in the USA on September 5, 2018.
“Sadly, while each segment is certainly creepy, and the overall visual aesthetic unified by Ole Bratt Birkeland’s (Four Lions) shadowy, ominous cinematography, none are overly clever, relying on very simple jump scares and poltergeist imagery to keep audience members glued to their seats.” Birth. Movies. Death.
” …Ghost Stories is playing with our expectations and instincts, revealing a little more of what’s behind its clever curtain with every fright […] It’s fresh and wicked and extremely fun… Bloody Disgusting
” …this film ends with one of the strangest and possibly most brilliant moments I saw at the whole festival. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it and I still cannot stop thinking about it. All I can say is Ghost Stories absolutely goes for it and I loved it for doing so. This is going to be a movie that horror fans will be talking about all year.” Boom/Howdy
” …a fine package overall. The acting is on point, as is the brilliant camerawork. It foreshadows events as effectively as it emphasises the scares. The script could have shone brighter, but it is still top quality with its build-up and storytelling.” Cryptic Rock
“Cleverly written and wonderfully realized, this phantasmagoria will get under your skin and refuse to leave. A brooding, atmospheric, and deeply unsettling film, Ghost Stories will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the year. This is British horror at its finest.” Dread Central
” …it requires a couple of viewings to pick up just how clever it is. Add in sequences evocative of the style of great British authors Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell and you have something very special, very British, and most importantly very evocative of a certain kind of British horror indeed.” House of Mortal Cinema
“What you are seeing the entire time might not necessarily be what is at face-value and I appreciate that as well as its bigger themes. Ghost Stories has the bones of a classic and is effectively terrifying. It has plenty of creeping flesh inducing moments complete with effective gags.” iHorror.com
“Its script is sly and sophisticated. Its visuals are eerie and enigmatic, then elegantly crafted. And its cast knits this twisted world of spirits, suspicion and secrets into a tense, terrifying, and outright terrific journey. Even now, my mind lingers on certain images, entranced, attracted, and haunted.” Pajaba
“Freeman gets to have the most fun (and screen time), but his story feels the least successfully expanded from the stage […] Dyson and Nyman might not have a smash the size of the stage version of Ghost Stories on their hands, but they’ve more than done it justice, and there’ll certainly be a willing, horror-friendly audience ready to jump out of their skins for this.” The Playlist
“Ghost Stories doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way, but it owes a debt to films that modern genre filmmakers might have forgotten. In that sense, it feels both old and new at the same time. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s honestly scary in ways most indie horror doesn’t even try to be.” RogerEbert.com
“All three stories are riddled by jump scares and nonsense, and I hate to say that watching Ghost Stories was a very frustrating experience. Technically, the film performs, but there’s something major missing; heart and empathy. There’s no reason to care for any of the one-note characters in this film, and there’s barely any horror to be found.” Screen Anarchy
” …Nyman and Dyson avoid an over-reliance on jump scares, instead creating a richly textured visual landscape. Helped by production designer Grant Montgomery and cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkel and, whose camera prowls deserted corridors, peers round corners and — in an Evil Dead homage — races across a forest floor, the filmmakers have created moments of subtle, creeping menace.” Screen Daily
“Ghost Stories is deliciously unexpected and gravely provocative in the bleakest, most under-the-skin manner […] those like me who thrive on addressing existential cynicism head-on will be left psychologically pummeled and entertained.” Slash Film
“It’s a broad and entertaining little film, strongly rooted in its central character and his specific fears, and it’s bound to delight any number of horror fans looking for intelligently plotted genre thrills. An anthology film that reveals itself to be something way more…” Vanyaland
Martin Freeman – Cargo; Hot Fuzz; Shaun of the Dead
Andy Nyman – ABCs of Death 2: segment ‘A’; Black Death; Severance
Paul Whitehouse – Burke and Hare; Corpse Bride
Ryan Oliva – Heretiks; Howl; The Seasoning House
Emily Carding – Scareycrows
Warp Films-Altitude Film Entertainment-Catalyst Global Media-Lionsgate
IFC Midnight released Ghost Stories in the United States on VOD on April 20, 2018.