Based on the stage play, Ghost Stories is a movie that redeems the horror anthology after years of poor direct to video and screaming excuses for entries in the canon. It’s written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, who stars as Philip Goodman, a famous professor and television personality who is obsessed with outing fraudulent psychics and explaining away the paranormal.
Now, he’s been invited to meet his inspiration, Charles Cameron (Martin Freeman*), who was once an occult investigator just like Philip, but now is a poor man living out his last days in a trailer. He asks him to investigate three cases, which form the stories of this anthology.
The first case is that of a night watchman named Tony Matthews, whose wife has died of cancer and daughter has locked herself away from the world. Now, he’s haunted by a young girl while he works. Then, a teenager obsessed with the occult accidentally runs over a demonic creature in the woods. The investigator becomes more and more unnerved by the cases, ending with the story of a banker whose wife has died in childbirth as she unleashed an inhuman child upon the world.
That’s when reality falls apart and Philip can no longer explain the unknown and must face down whatever he is enduring. I don’t want to give away the rug pull in this movie, but trust me that it makes sense and gives this story even more dramatic heft.
I love how the opening of this movie was inspired by faith healer Peter Popoff being exposed by skeptic and magician James Randi. It’s almost exactly the way the real life incident happened.
If any movie made in the last few years deserves to be compared to the heights of Amicus, this would be it.
*Freeman and Nyman told the cast, crew and media that this role was played by Leonard Byrne, even getting Freeman to wear a prosthetic mask to further game everyone involved.