Ghost Stories Review
“The brain sees what it wants to see” is the refrain Professor Goodman clings to whenever he faces the inexplicable. Unsurprisingly his rational worldview is called into question frequently in Ghost Stories – a smart, haunting, and relentlessly inventive collection of supernatural tales.
Adapted from the successful West End play by Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, Ghost Stories not only revives but elevates the old horror movie format of the portmanteau. Long synonymous with Britain’s second horror studio Amicus, the form typically draws together four or five short horror tales within a framing narrative.
Ghost Stories focuses on three tales of the unexplained, with the protagonist of each recounting their uncanny experience to Nyman’s sceptic Professor. To go into the set-up and specifics of each story would be to defang them, but each one has its own charms and plays with a different aspect of the supernatural. It starts with suspenseful and terrorising (Paul Whitehouse’s opening segment), then pivots into something utterly bonkers and satanic (Alex Lawther’s middle section), before concluding with Martin Freeman’s melancholic and eerie closer. The performances are wonderful throughout, with each actor carrying their individual segments brilliantly.