Ghost Stories

Adapted from the stage show of the same name by Andy Nyman (Death At A Funeral) and Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentleman). Ghost Stories is a somewhat anthology of varied unexplained ghost stories being investigated by sceptic and professor Phillip Goodman, Nyman, after his hero who was presumed dead comes out of hiding setting Goodman the task of proven these three cases as fakes. We jump from character to character with their own unique tales of being tormented by something unexplained, the tall tales coming via a nightwatchman, Paul Whitehouse, a lying teenager, Alex Lawther, and successful businessman, Martin Freedman. As Goodman’s investigation goes deeper and deeper, he starts to see things himself that threaten to haunt him.

This may please fans of the original stage play or those who appreciate a bit of homage of British horror classics, but anyone hoping for a cohesive narrative will be left disappointed. Tonally it feels disparate between comedy and horror. Some moments hit the comedy notes solidly as with moments of genuine horror, but all too rarely do they feel comfortably gelled together. When the reveal arrives, it’s all feels like a convenient cliché that sums up the lack of challenge the viewer is left or the attempt by the writers to really sew the various strands neatly together, with some themes implemented but barely explored leaving one to wonder why they are in there in the first place. It just adds to a list of disappointing British comedy writers not knowing how to really adapt to the demands of cinema.

★★

Chris Aitken