Ghost Stories

HORROR; 1hr 38min

STARRING: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman

Dangerous curve: Nyman (left) and Freeman


Professor Philip Goodman (Nyman) is a self-satisfied TV debunker of all things “superstitious.” But he’s ripe for a rude awakening when tasked by a fellow non-believer to explain away three examples of the inexplicable.

 

Goodman’s first, churlish interview subject (Paul Whitehouse) is a nightwatchman in an abandoned psychiatric hospital—a spooky gig right there, and hellishly more hair-raising when said spooks get going.

 

In case two, Goodman encounters a young man (Alex Lawther) so patently unnerved in a house so flat-out creepy even he is disconcerted. As to how the house got that way, suffice it to say that driving alone through a pitch-black and apparently possessed forest is no failsafe recipe for anybody’s peace of mind. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Professor Rational obstinately continues to cling to logic, although his hold on it is slipping by the time he encounters a financier (Freeman) whose splendid home is no sanctuary from wicked spirits.

 

Their lustreless visual style is more incrementally creepy than outright blood-curdling, but Nyman and his co-writer and co-director Jeremy Dyson’s adaptation of their internationally performed stage play is still a nesting doll of nasty little shocks. Limb by shadowy limb, they culminate with cat-footed stealth in a cred-stretching yet strangely poignant reckoning. Whatever your beliefs on beings that go bump in the night, these classically fashioned ghosts are a gasp-inducing insight into the insidious power of self-reproach.