Andy NymanMartin Freeman...
Action & Adventure
Andy NymanJeremy Dyson
In 1 Cinema
With time, and the recurrent watching of recent horror movies, you learn to keep your expectations to a minimum, but when a film gives you only three not-very-scary scenes, and the weirdest reveal, everything goes out the window.
Ghost Stories follows Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) who exposes frauds claimed to be in touch with the supernatural. He receives a mysterious tape leading him to his long-time hero and fellow debunker. This man tells him about three cases that almost drove him mad, so Professor Goodman decides to take them on himself. Goodman starts with a night watchman (Paul Whitehouse) working in an asylum, who claims to have seen evil spirits, then moves to a young man (Alex Lawther) who claims to have seen a demon, and ends with a wealthy widower (Martin Freeman) who is haunted by the evil spirit of his unborn child. Whether Professor Goodman would be able to crack the cases that his hero couldn’t, or not, is a mystery, even for him.
The plot is basically made up of three small stories that are neither delved into enough for the audience to care, nor barely mentioned for the audience to deem irrelevant and disregard them. Instead, the stories take a huge chunk of the film, hanging as unfinished thoughts with several loose ends and unanswered questions.
The horror does not even begin until 30 minutes out of the 90-minute film, and even when it does, the audience get three somewhat (not really) scary scenes; one for each story and that is it. The film’s name and poster provide more horror than in the actual film.
After the film is done telling the three stories, there is a good confusing 10 to 15 minutes where the audience have no idea what in the world is going on. Because the film’s pace was already slow, and the stories were superficial; confusion led many of the audience members to just give up on the film, and just scroll through their phones instead.
The end ties the whole film together, but due to the several off-base aspects of the production, the film’s attempts at depth and awe fall flat.
As for the acting, Andy Nyman was only okay; wearing the same over-the-top facial expression most of the time, verging on being comical, rather than fearful. Paul Whitehouse was minimal with his expressions, which worked out well for his character’s persona; he knew when to let loose and when to hold back. Alex Lawther did a good job with all the twitching and freaked-out character, and was able to consistently maintain the emotions that his character required. Martin Freeman had a much calmer character, which he was able to deliver, but he lacked quite a bit in his reactions to the horror scenes- perhaps because they were not scary at all.
If you like weird films and don’t mind the slow pace, the loose ends, and the incoherence, go right ahead.