Ghost Stories, horror film of 2017 – but now released in the world cinemas – written and directed by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, adaptation of the homonymous theatrical work written by them.
The protagonist of this film is
a psychology professor, Phillip Goodman (interpreated by Nyman himself), who specializes in unmasking false psychics, of which the world and television swarm. He considers himself almost a hero because he unmasks these scammers who make money from the tragedies of others. His hero, the man who pushed him to become what he has become, is the infamous paranormal detective Charles Cameron, famous for the phrase: “the brain sees what iy wants to see”. Charles has long since disappeared when Goodman suddenly receives a call from him inviting him to meet. Once there, Cameron gives Goodman three cases that he could not solve and thanks to which he was convinced of the existence of the paranormal.
The film is very very cute. Surely it’s a good horror film, but in general it’s a good movie.
The strong point is the screenplay. The film wants to restore a certain importance and rejuvenate all those stories of ghosts, or horror in general, classic, stories that make the folklore of all countries, but especially the English one. Let’s remember that the whole Halloween tradition is Celtic. So in Britain this tradition of the occult, of the Gothic is even stronger than in the rest of the world. It is an anthology movie, in fact the cases are shown to us one after the other, but there is a great line of succession and thought that have made, in my opinion, a well thought out and well written film. It reminded me a lot of Dead of Night, horror film of 1945 directed by Cavalcanti, and certainly Nyman and Dyson were inspired by it. A movie that I recommend, among other things.
Returning to the script, I appreciated the film’s humor. It is very small, there is only in a few moments, but in my opinion it is useful and does not dampen the sense of horror and anxiety at all. It’s black humor, perfect for the horror genre, which in my opinion accentuates the dark tone of the film. It’s also a scary horror movie. I felt anxiety and fear, also because there are not so many clichés. Indeed, the exact opposite. And there are so many twists you do not expect, but they’re fine. To close, the film is not just a horror film, it deals with a particular theme, which is that of the paranormal and of religion. Goodman – a particular name you do not find? – does not believe in anything, but why? And why do some people believe? The film takes a clear and strong position on this theme, and it was not obvious at all.
The direction of Nyman and Dyson is very good, and also very theatrical, so even the direction keeps the concept of the original work, which I remember was written for the theater. There are also many parts where it is more cinematic and this combination mixes well. This means that they do not go to create the usual cliché, like the jump scare. The jump scare has a well-established direction and Nyman and Dyson have tried to avoid it as much as possible, succeeding. There is something that can be approached, but there are not jump scares.
I also really liked the technical department. A beautiful cinematography, with dark, dark colors and a well-kept and striking image; great settings, even here very well-kept; beautiful music, very gloomy and they are fine; great sound and beautiful editing, the film runs smoothly like oil. Costumes in the norm, as well as sound editing.
The actors were good, but Alex Lawther definitely above all.
So I recommend this film. It’s beautiful, elegant and scary. A horror that works.
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