After years of America hogging the horror genre, the British have finally attempted to take back the film type and add a darker colder twist. The weather is wet all the time, the people are miserable and has an odd sense of humour…defo a British horror. The gloomy atmosphere is perfect for a supernatural horror but how well did it pay off?
Plot: Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), known for debunking psychics and anything paranormal is asked to investigate 3 unsolvable ghost Stories.
Review: As I have mentioned, the horror film sets itself as British very well, through known British actors and the overall aesthetic of the movie. As one of the few British horror films, especially within the past 5 years, there is a lot of pressure on the success. Everyone knows that American horror films can be crap and still earn a boat load of cash at the box office but the Brits have a bit more pressure. Any good horror should rely on a mixture of actual horror and a strong plot or if it’s a modern horror… just a hundred jump scares. A few great actors including Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther and Paul Whitehouse did take the film to new highs and removed the crap created by the false scares.
Ghost stories opens in a documentary style show, to encourage the investigative journalism element to the film. Each of the three stories Phillip aims to debunk are considered ‘scarier than the last’, according to the marketing material. However, as someone who is hard to scare, I found that the best was actually the first horror story but this one is up to the preference of the viewer. Each of the three stories, in particular the first, is great at showing suspense. It doesn’t just open with a glint at the killer or a bit of scare to keep the audience engaged but instead, the fear factor is dragged out. The film was more ‘Alien’ than ‘Scream’. This gives the viewer a bit of time to settle in before they are given a genuine scare. Apart from suspense, the horror is created through lighting, use of on screen space, character design and like most unoriginal horrors, jumps scares. One fault I would give the film is the director chucking in a few red herrings. I mean it sticks to the conventions but boy, at what cost. In some cases, it’s not just the story itself but the way it is told by those who experienced the event. Story 2 is particularly good at achieving this.
The film however, may be good at telling a horror story but every story needs a good conclusion. Each of these little tales of terrors ends at the climax, without showing what actually happens once these characters encountered the monster. I mean, we know they survive as they are telling the story but how did they survive? However, this little plot mishap could be a part of the films charm.
Like any good horror and well any good drama or thriller, there is a unique and unexpected plot twist you just couldn’t predict. It worked in the way that no one could have thought that the film would actually end like that but the plot twist was rather confusing and for me and many others, removes the affect and horror of the film. Honestly, it got weird quick and left me dumbfounded. They do drop subtle hints throughout, which is clever but again, you would not have picked up on these hints.
Overall, for me the most of the film is decent, offering a good little horror film, a lot better than some of the crap Hollywood has been sprouting off. However, it didn’t live up to how it was shown in the marketing material. I felt that the trailers were misleading and I was not getting what I paid for. Nevertheless, this might have been done to keep the big plot twist a secret.