Thought-Provoking and Unsettling: Ghost Stories Review

98 minutes | Horror/Mystery | 2018


An anthology of sorts, from the off, Ghost Stories wants you to believe that what you see in front of you is not what’s really happening. It follows a professor, Phillip Goodman, (played by Andy Nyman, one half of the writer-director team) as he attempts to debunk three paranormal sightings by three different individuals (played by Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman).

Adapting from their own play, the transition from stage to screen can be a hard one. However, with a cleverly written script and such attention to detail in their direction, both Nyman and Dyson know what to give you and when to give you it. They play along with the tropes of horror, sometimes mocking them without crossing the line. One scene in particular stands out when Simon Rifkind (played by scene stealer Alex Lawther) saying “f**k that” after a supernatural creature tells him to stay put.

What we get in Ghosts Stories is three intriguing cases of supernatural sightings, coupled with three unique characters that are allowed to breathe and become their own. However, all isn’t what it seems, and Goodman digs deep into his sanity, sometimes even losing touch with reality. It’s clear that Ghost Stories doesn’t rely on the tactics used in most modern horror films. While the film does have a few jump scares, they aren’t the vocal point. What is the focus are the characters, how they react and what is happening around them. It’s safer to say that the film is more-so unsettling than it is jump out of your seat scary. It’s as if someone is telling you a ghost story in the dark. You know nothing is going to come and scare you, however, you just can’t help but feel unsettled anyway.

It’s a different kind of horror film. Nyman and Dyson have presented us with a thought-provoking and engaging script, adding in some wonderful performances, Ghost Stories will leave checking over your shoulder.

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