Ghost Stories review – enjoyably spooky horror anthology
Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse star in a collection of chilling tales
Adapted with slippery agility by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman from their hit 2010 play, this collection of spooky tales expands from its stage origins to fill every corner of the screen with malevolent threats. Nyman stars as Professor Phillip Goodman, a professional sceptic whose job it is to debunk the mysteries of the paranormal. Eyebrow permanently raised, he drives a vintage Jaguar around the country, trailing exhaust fumes and a faint whiff of superiority. Then he is challenged to investigate three cases.
Paul Whitehouse plays a chippy nightwatchman who spins a tale of terror in an abandoned asylum; a jittery teenager (Alex Lawther) has a demonic encounter when he takes his parents’ car; and Martin Freeman plays a broker whose well-appointed home is plagued by a poltergeist. Each nervy little segment works chillingly well on its own, but together they point to a story from the professor’s own life.
Performances are excellent. I particularly enjoyed Lawther’s mirthless rictus of a smile, like the grimace of a Cavalcanti ventriloquist’s dummy – one of many elements that evoke the similarly structured 1945 anthology movie Dead of Night.
Wendy Ide, Observer April 2018