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Ghost Stories (2017)

Directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman

3 stars

Professional paranormal debunker “Professor” Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), turned off religion and superstition as a child, is given a challenge to investigate three inexplicable cases. Goodman accepts and soon the slightly seedy professor is off visiting some monumentally seedy locations and their disturbed, disturbing inhabitants.

Adapted from the stage play of the same name, Ghost Stories is effective at deploying creepy places (particularly so the drive through a dark forest). There are sufficient scares, too, to keep you engaged throughout its approximately 90 minute duration, although there’s nothing particularly innovative about them (most are of the “It’s behind you” variety).

It’s during the investigation of the third case that things start to get very weird, as directors and writers Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman begin to set up the twist in the tale.

When that eventually comes, it manages to be both poignant and a little disappointing: the horror ceases being ghostly, and everything is explained a little too well.

But in the run up to the denouement, there are some quality frights to endure and the pleasures of seeing some fine British comic talent, including Paul Whitehouse, Martin Freeman and a stellar performance from Alex Rifkind. Special mention must also go to the locations and production design, which combine to give us a vision of Britain that oozes a tired, sticky nastiness while feeling all too familiar.

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