Adapting from their acclaimed and colossal hit theatrical production, directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson offer us Ghost Stories: a terrifying anthology of unnerving stories, which screened at this year's Glasgow Film Festival.
CATCH UP ON THE REST OF OUR GFF COVERAGE HERE.
Nyman, who also leads the cast, is Professor Goodman – a cocksure investigator that debunks the paranormal. When he is presented with three unsolvable cases – supposedly proof of the existence of the supernatural world around us - we are taken into each of these seemingly separate stories. But, as the film progresses, a sinister overarching narrative begins to form. And it’s quite brilliantly devised. It’s easy to see why Nyman and Dyson’s stage show was quite the success – these are two true masters of their craft, not to mention some of the finest orchestrators of tension and horror to step foot into the game in some time. Watching Ghost Stories unfold, I felt saddened by the fact I wasn't going to get to see the theatrical original. Because if this cinematic adaptation is this good, I can only imagine the show would have been even superior and even scarier – if that’s even somehow possible.
Unlike most other conventional “jump-fest” horror films, Nyman and Dyson have orchestrated the tension and fear so masterfully that this film will literally have you jumping every few minutes. Ghost Stories isn't just scary. No. This film is fucking terrifying. This is one of the scariest horror films I have seen in years. But it’s also one of the best. Nyman and Dyson clearly understand how to build an atmospheric and immersive world – this film is thick with tension and ambiguity. Every frame is seeping with nuance and subtlety that add to the whole experience this film offers us; the kind of detail that will reward its viewers upon repeat watches. The frights come thick and fast once the film finds its footing (albeit after a stumble with pacing in its establishing act); frights that felt like classic horror, the kind that blends misdirection, sustained tension (some of the most unbearable and stomach-tightening I’ve seen in a film in some time), haunting imagery and outright unpredictability and surprise to create a truly terrifying fright-fest. However, the use of dark humour is also excellent – providing the occasional and necessary respite from the chills – and the juggling of the pair is superb; Nyman and Dyson really get the balance right in a way that means the neither are compromised but rather work to assist one another in keeping the audience on its toes.
The writing and direction is astounding – as you would expect from a pairing that have been so close to the material for this long. Nyman and Dyson take the genre tropes and uses them in such unexpected ways and to such great and scary effect too. It’s a film that never feels ground-breaking, though. It is effective with its ingredients but there isn’t much unique to it; however, it’s a film that takes the formula ingredients and executes them with such astute craft that is almost like the best chefs putting their spin on a classic meal. Obviously, it’s going to be delicious. Albeit if just a spin on something familiar. The performances are all also commendable; Nyman has a great presence and is matched by a superb supporting cast featuring the likes of Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman in a role that feels pleasantly against-type. Ghost Stories is is a nerve-shredding, scream-inducing horror that is amongst the very best. It is haunting and, at times, even unbearable in the best of ways and makes for such an enjoyable experience. Because that is exactly what this film is. This is an experience. A spectacular one.
GHOST STORIES OPENS IN THE U.K ON APRIL 6TH, 2018.
Ghost Stories is absolutely terrifying. This is horror at its very best, and directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson have crafted quite the chilling experience. It's hauntingly brilliant.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.