[Review] Ghost Stories (2018)

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We love watching films together! It’s just not the same watching them separately. So we went to the cinema and anticipated a true classic British horror film. Having said this, now we’ve watched it, we’re not entirely sure how to gather our thoughts about this film …

We’re not able to give much away in the storyline, but we’ll give it a shot! The story follows Professor Philip Goodman (Andy Nyman, who is also one of the film’s writers and directors), a skeptic who wishes to publically falsify the claims of psychics. He gets given three inexplicable ghost stories where three people have experienced three separate encounters. One of which is an encounter by avid pub-goer, Tony Matthews (played by Paul Whitehouse) who is a ‘night watchman’ (we googled this during the film because we hadn’t ever heard of it. Google told us it was something to do with cricket, but we’re pretty certain his job actually had something to do with keeping watch … at night … For what, we don’t know, and for why, we really don’t know). He comes across some freaky stuff during one of his shifts and is subsequently truly disturbed forever. Next is an encounter from Simon Rifkind (played by Alex Lawther), a bizzare young man, potentially with some mental health problems, and a fascination with the macabre, who has some very strange experiences in the woods. And lastly is a story from Mike Priddle (played by Martin Freeman), a very rich businessman with obsessive compulsive tendencies who experiences some very unsettling things in his home. Prof Philip doesn’t want to believe these stories and attempts to explain these away with science. However, the film continues with an in depth character exploration of Prof Philip’s deepest demons … We can’t give away ‘the big reveal,’ so we’ll have to keep you guessing and attempt to review the finer details without spoilers!

This film appears to be nonsensical even though Prof Philip is intent on making sense of it all. This was what was truly special about this film, the balance and great difference between sense and nonsense. We believe this was what the writers and directors intended and they definitely conveyed this well. If you feel confused by reading this, then this is exactly what the film makes you feel and is the great essence of this film.

Steph is particularly keen on Alex Lawther in this film (as well as other TV bits he’s done). He is such a unique person with fantastic skill in making you feel huge compassion for his character, while also being completely creeped out by him and very unsure as to whether you should be laughing or crying along with him. We absolutely love this feeling and laughing tends to be our go-to reaction. We commend Alex for playing Simon Rifkind so well. We feel that his story was the point in the film when we started to realise we were allowed to laugh at the randomness of the story lines and it was actually intended in this way. We laugh very regularly, at times when we’re not meant to, so we always have to question whether we should actually be laughing or not …

The unraveling of the story was quite nonsensical, relatively inexplicable and particularly confusing but that really didn’t matter as it was intended this way and by that point, there was acceptance that the film was not going to follow any kind or norm. Nonetheless, we were impressed with ‘the reveal’ and felt it was only very slightly predictable, and we could only start to attempt to predict this once the film had started to unravel during the third story.

We’re both in agreement that we should watch this film again in hindsight, with the knowledge we gained at the end of the film to truly see the intricacies of the plot and linking that to the main reveal. We are now also aware of what the film entails and we think that watching it again will give us greater appreciation for the fine British humour and intelligence. Watch this space for another review (when it comes out on DVD, because we’re not forking out another meerkat movie for this!).

After much thought and debrief after this film, we feel it deserves a relatively high score and we would recommend this to anyone who wants to feel a little freaked out, confused and disturbed.

Overall rating  7/10

Rating Breakdowns (out of 5 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡)

Gore 🤡🤡

Suspense 🤡🤡🤡🤡

Hilarity 🤡🤡🤡

Engagement 🤡🤡🤡

Obscurity 🤡🤡🤡🤡

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