Ghostly ad­di­tion to hor­ror tales

The Dominion Post - - Entertainment -

Ghost Sto­ries (M, 98 mins) Di­rected by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Ny­man Re­viewed by Graeme Tuck­ett ★★★1⁄2

With the likes of The Haunt­ing of Hill House avail­able at a flick of your TV re­mote, it must be chal­leng­ing to make orig­i­nal hor­ror movies for the big screen. But there is def­i­nitely a mini golden-age of hor­ror hap­pen­ing right now. A Quiet Place, Raw, The Babadook, Hered­i­tary and even the re­cent Hal­loween re­launch, have all found – and de­served – their au­di­ence.

Mean­while, The Con­jur­ing fran­chise and its many mokop­una are at least tech­ni­cally very com­pe­tent, and writ­ten with a re­fresh­ing aware­ness of ex­actly what they were put on this Earth to do. So can a Bri­tish in­die based on a stage play mus­cle in and make a buck here in God­zone? I hope so be­cause A Ghost Story has plenty to like about it.

The film is a loose tril­ogy of sto­ries, con­nected by a scep­ti­cal ‘‘para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tor’’ who is out to de­bunk any­thing su­per­nat­u­ral. But when he is chal­lenged by his age­ing men­tor – now liv­ing alone in a car­a­van and clearly hous­ing a few pos­sums in his top branches – to find an ex­pla­na­tion for three par­tic­u­lar cases, our man Phillip (Andy Ny­man, who co-di­rects) has no choice but to get to work.

The first case in­volves a night­watch­man at a derelict hos­pi­tal, haunted by a vi­sion of a young woman who may be chan­nelling his own paral­ysed and co­matose daugh­ter.

The sec­ond fea­tures a young man who is con­vinced he is cursed af­ter run­ning down a mys­te­ri­ous fig­ure on a coun­try road.

And the third – which stars Mar­tin Free­man – is a grim retelling of a pol­ter­geist and at least one tragic death.

Until this point, Ghost Sto­ries plays as an an­thol­ogy movie and I was un­der­whelmed as I waited for the cred­its to roll. But writ­ers and di­rec­tors Ny­man and Jeremy Dyson have saved the best – an ex­pla­na­tion of sorts – for last.

And fi­nally I be­gan to ap­pre­ci­ate why Ghost Sto­ries played to packed the­atres for more than a year. If you’re still pay­ing at­ten­tion at about the 80-minute mark, you’re in for a treat.

Ghost Sto­ries isn’t quite on a par with the very best of the re­cent hor­ror re­nais­sance, but it de­liv­ers its share of shiv­ers and jumps with a re­strained in­ven­tive­ness I truly ap­pre­ci­ated.

Andy Ny­man and Mar­tin Free­man star in Ghost Sto­ries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.