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Ghost Stories

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I was at a movie screening, and two critics came up to me and asked me if I had seen Ghost Stories. They loved it. That night, I went to check it out. I was rather underwhelmed.

Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson write and directed this, adapting it from their stage play.

The story is about a guy named Professor Phillip Goodman (Nyman), who after being inspired by a popular show he watched as a kid, goes about debunking paranormal activity. The show host he watched is now on his deathbed, and gives Goodman three cases he was never able to debunk. That gets Goodman to investigate, and just like we had in the much better The Last Exorcism, it looks like they’re actually is some funky stuff going down. The problem is that it shows us three different cases, and none of them are all that compelling. They co-star Alex Lawther, Paul Whitehouse, and someone I always love seeing on screen — Martin Freeman. Part of the problem is that these stories aren’t all that interesting. The other problem is that they’re not really scary. The score is also a bit cheesy and over-the-top. My wife leaned in and said, “This music makes it feel like we’re watching a BBC show on Masterpiece Theater.”

Well, it is out of the UK, and has only limited release in the United States (locally at the Ken Cinema).

The first story has an overnight security guard dealing with some creepy sounds. The second story has a boy (the terrific Alex Lawther) “borrowing” his father’s car, and getting stranded in the woods with no cell phone signal. A devil type creature then hops on his car. The kid is being interviewed in his room, which is filled with satanic drawings and book illustrations on the wall. His performance is terrific, and he has one line that made me laugh out loud. There are a few other comedic moments that work as well.

The third segment with Freeman is the best, but not all that interesting. He’s dealing with poltergeist activity.

The cinematography in this is great. The picture is really well-shot and has some eerie images.

I remember when The Sixth Sense came out, my friend was telling me after a racquetball game that it was merely an average movie, with an incredible ending. I disagreed. I thought it was a terrific movie all the way through.

This movie fits better into that original statement. I thought the ending was incredible, but I’m guessing many will dislike how it concluded. It sort of pulls a bait-and-switch on the original premise, which I’m sure people would’ve liked to see followed through on.

Although I wasn’t a big fan, this fits nicely into the horror genre. When you get so much garbage like Truth or Dare, it’s nice when you get films that have great production values like this one, A Quiet Place, and Get Out.

I can only give this 2 stars out of 5, though.


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