Coming to select theaters and currently available on VOD from writer/directors Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman and IFC Films are stories that will tingle spines with “Ghost Stories.”
Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) has made a life out of uncovering psychics who are frauds on his television show “Psychic Cheats.” He receives a package from Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne), a man Goodman saw as an example of how to find phonies and frauds, and he wants to meet with him.
Thrilled to meet someone he thought long dead, Goodman is shocked to discover that things haven’t been easy for him. He only wants one thing from Goodman, to investigate three cases for which he has no answer for.
The first person affected is a night watchman Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse) who is the security guard in an asylum long since abandoned. Lights blinking and doors slamming has him investigating every nook and in the dark things have a way of catching up with you, as it does him.
The second person affected is Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther), a young boy who finds himself on a deserted road in the woods and distracted by his father screaming at him on the phone. Hitting an object, what he sees is horrifying and has put his life into a world of absolute fear.
The third person he speaks with is Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman) who doesn’t seem at all moved by the story he has to tell. A wealthy man, he has a beautiful home and recently he and wife Maria (Emily Carding) have created a beautiful nursery for their unborn child. While Marie is in the hospital, something happens in the home nursery that is beyond reason.
What do these three men have in common is what Professor Goodman is about to find out.
Nyman as Professor Goodman is a man with a past that brings him to call out those who fraud the public about being psychic. What he doesn’t expect is that the man who he considers the reason for his line of work would pop up out of nowhere to solve these cases. Nyman’s character is a skeptic yet there are moments where he begins to question his own non-beliefs.
Matthews as Whitehouse is the first man affected and he absolutely starts the creepy trail rolling. I give him points for keeping his fear in check because I would have lost it completely. Lawther as Simon is a young man locked inside his own fears and with absolutely every reason to be. Lawther has the unique ability to ooze fear out of every pour of his being and he does so with ease.
Freeman as Priddle calmly walks into the story and steals it from Nyman briefly. He is cold, intense, affected, a judge and nothing expected. Of course, I am thrilled to see Freeman because he is such an amazing actor who seems to choose roles that he manipulates into absolute stunning works of art. This is such an interesting role because of the twists and turns but Freeman walks away with a giggle.
Other cast include Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Father Emery, Deborah Wastell as Mrs. Goodman, Daniel Hill as Mr. Goodman, Christine Dalby as Beth Hooper, Maggie McCarthy as Jean Hooper, Joe Osborne as Mr. Rifkind, and Maria Major as Mrs. Rifkind.
“Ghost Stories” is what I absolutely adore about this genre – absolute twists, turns, not covered in gore and out of control CGI. Instead, we are given a thriller that embodies that word – it thrills from beginning to end. This isn’t a story that is easy to figure out or even easy to digest but in fact a story that is going to keep people talking.
This film is cleverly written, beautifully put on film with a cast that gives stellar performances that had me from go. Filled with eerie creaks, flashing lights, and things that go bump in the night, “Ghost Stories” is everything and a bag of spooky that I watched in the dark and would do so again.
In the end – the brain sees what it wants to see!