Ghost Stories (2017)


Based on the stage play with the same name from Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman (both of whom also wrote and directed this), the story follows a psychologist/paranormal debunker named Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), who makes a living outing psychic frauds and detailing paranormal hoaxes. One day he receives an invitation from a once famed paranormal investigator to come visit his secluded home. Naturally Phillip takes the man up on his offer and is eventually presented with three unexplained cases that the investigator was never able to rationally and scientifically explain. Phillip is tasked to look into each one himself in hopes of coming up with his own rational conclusion.

The first case finds Phillip talking to an ex-security guard, who once worked at an old and now deserted medical asylum for woman. There, the man encounters some pretty strange things, ultimately coming face to face with the ghost of a young girl. The setting for this segment was probably the creepiest of the three and offers some decent hair-raising bits. Though sadly, it's a pretty basic tale and doesn't really offer anything we haven't already seen.

The second case has Phillip interviewing a strange young man, who seems obsessed with the occult. His story details his encounter with a devilish goat man while on the drive back from a party. After accidentally hitting the beast with his car he finds himself stuck on a creepy stretch of road with no help in sight. This tale had the potential to really deliver a hauntingly unique encounter with something supernatural, but it ends just as soon as it begins and doesn't really go anywhere.

The last case follows a wealthy businessman (played by Martin Freeman), who seemingly finds himself haunted by an unseen force before the birth of his first child. It's later discovered that the child itself may be something inhuman. Aside from a decent scare at one point, this is just another standard tale of someone being haunted.

The wraparound story involving Phillip is surprisingly the most interesting aspect of the whole movie since each case was so short and the writing wasn't strong enough to detail a compelling enough tale, so the segments either felt like they ended entirely too soon or simply went nowhere. Though, the biggest issue I had with the film would be it's painfully cliched and predictable climax, with my initial reaction being: "Really?? People are still ending movies this way??" Negative aside, it kept my interest, it had it's creepy bits, and I dig the cast/performances overall. I've seen much worse anthologies than this, but it's still sad since the movie seemed to offer so much potential from the start, but as it stands it's just an average horror anthology with nothing we haven't already seen before in much better films.

Ghost Stories turned out to be a pretty average horror anthology, giving us incredibly short and standard tales of the supernatural that were either too short or simply went nowhere. It's sad when the strongest part of the movie is its wraparound segment, but even that ended up on a predictable note. Though, if you like anthologies and you're okay with average and aren't looking for anything remarkably new or interesting then this movie should do the trick just fine.