Film (Re)View – Ghosts Stories

This was another Scream Unseen outing and a movie I was very much looking forward to, as the trailers implied it would be awesome and scary………er, no!

Don’t get me wrong, this movie started out really well. It follows Dr Goodman (Andy Nyman), a jewish man raised in a very overpowering and religious household. Maybe this was why he ended up as a skeptic, debunking psychics and other such matters which purport to suggest that ghosts are real. Goodman is tasked with investigating three unsolved cases of hauntings, all in an effort to convince him that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

The first of these is Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse). Matthews was a nightwatchman in an abandoned lunatic asylum, when he experienced lights being unplugged and other strange goings on, culminating in him coming face to face (literally) with the ghost of a little girl in a bright yellow dress. Said ghost enveloped him in a hug and her long bony fingers, tipped with nails a child her age wouldn’t have, reached up to his face and put a finger in his mouth.

For anyone who has ever been on a paranormal night, especially to an asylum, this story proved spot on and sent a few shivers up the old spine.

The second case is Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther) who seemed to have completely flipped out due to an experience when his car broke down in the woods. A creature of some description, which could speak, climbed into his car. Rifkind escaped and ran into the woods, only to be subdued by some sort of tree monster.

This story leaned more towards the fantastical than the paranormal and didn’t do anything for me.

The third story is Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman) whose wife had been taken into hospital, heavily pregnant and in distress. When he returned home, he experienced noises and weird goings on in the child’s nursery, culminating in seeing a child swathed in a blanket, playing in the crib, and a macabre ghost of his wife. The phone then rang and you can guess the rest.

Again, this was a very realistic ghost story and something any true believer will be familiar with.

Clues can be seen throughout the second and third stories, to try and lead you towards a conclusion.

After Priddle blew his own head off in front of Goodman, the movie crosses into the ridiculous and rapidly goes downhill, in my opinion.

The premise of the film seems to be based around Goodman being plagued by guilt over (and the spirit of) Kojak – a boy he went to school with. Both Goodman and Kojak were the victims of two school bullies who, this particular day, coaxed Kojak to go into a disused tunnel and read the numbers chalked periodically on the walls. Once he’d read out the tenth number, the bullies said he could join their gang. There was no tenth number and the tunnel got smaller and smaller, to the point where Kojak collapsed and had a fit. The bullies ran off and Goodman stood there for a while, listening to Kojak’s distress, before also running off. Kojak died.

This backstory is actually perfect for a story about ghosts, but the filmmakers just didn’t use it in the right way. A tortured soul hell bent on proving that none of the phenomena he is experiencing is true is a solid idea. They just turned the film into sheer stupidity, but this isn’t the worst part…….

The worst part is the end…the committing of a cardinal sin when it comes to storytelling – it was all a dream, or in his case a coma dream. You CANNOT do this. It is CHEATING. Enough said.