Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Creepy scares--and quite a bit more--inhabit Jeremy Dyson/Andy Nyman's GHOST STORIES

If you're looking, as TrustMovies often is, for a worthwhile and different "scary" movie, I'd highly recommend a new one entitled (not especially originally but no matter) GHOST STORIES. The ghosts here are quite interestingly connected -- and guilt-generated -- even though they appear in what initially looks like several different tales. The link between them is one of those parapsychology "experts" dead set on exploring and then debunking what might appear to the untrained eye and mind as "other-worldly."

The writer/director purveyors of this strange and alternately entrancing and disturbing movie are Jeremy Dyson (shown at left) and Andy Nyman (shown below), the latter of whom may be more familiar to viewers as an actor, which he is again here, essaying the leading role of Dr. Goodman, the fellow who would like to debunk the various tales we're going to see. How the good doctor goes about this and what happens then makes up the meat of Ghost Stories, a kind of anthology movie that turns out to be but a single story, after all.

The connections in the three-tales-within-a-tale are both obvious and barely there, but by the finale of this 97-minute movie you may be surprised at how many more associations and relationships are present here than you'll have first imagined.

By the time of its conclusion, the movie has offered a good deal more surprise and depth than expected in what would initially seem to be a mere genre piece.

The three let's-debunk-this-nonsense tales involves a night guard (Paul Whitehouse, above) at a closed-up sanitorium, a very odd and maybe paranoid young man without a driver's license (Alex Lawther, below) and a highly entitled, upper-crust twat about to become a father (Martin Freeman, two photos down).

The three give as fine and specific a performance as can be managed in the short screen time and limited character development provided. But that's quite all right because the filmmakers also offer up the requisite scares and fright along the way (nothing we haven't seen before, but nicely done) and most important a compelling and increasing sense of absolute dread -- of what, we're not even sure.

Storywise, the movie's all over the place, and yet it manages to somehow cohere, while visually it seems dark and foreboding, even in the daylight scenes. Judaism, the faith and culture, are important, too -- how much so we don't quite understand until the finale.

Oddball but finally memorable, Ghost Stories, I think, will slowly build a following and someday perhaps take its place as a kind of minor genre icon. Released via IFC Midnight, the movie opens in New York City at the IFC Center this Friday, April 20, and in Los Angeles next Friday, April 27, at the Landmark NuArt. Simultaneously with its theatrical release, the film will also be available via VOD.

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