written and directed by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman
by Walter Chaw A throwback anthology film that alas plays more like a Cat's Eye or a Trick 'r Treat than a Dead of Night or a Black Sabbath, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson's Ghost Stories is a handsome, safe-feeling prestige-horror production that trods no new ground, though it trods old ground pretty well. Paranormal debunker Professor Goodman (Nyman) needs a good knocking off his high horse and gets it in the form of three supernatural occurrences he's tasked with explaining. Three tales--the first a haunted hospital/factory thing, the second an incident on a remote forest road, the third involving a poltergeist (complete with deformed baby)--lead to the resolution of the framing story, in which our Goodman discovers that the real demons are the ones we carry with us from childhood. Despite a concession to cheap jump-scares, it's all stately in mounting and sterling in performance, from co-writer/co-director Nyman in the central role all the way through to young Alex Lawther as the nervous driver and stalwart Martin Freeman as an officious little prick who happens to have suffered an unendurable loss. At the end of the day, Ghost Stories feels like something famous people have done as favours for one another. If you gravitate towards little-girl figures appearing suddenly in flashlight beams and invisible somethings shaking a stalled car in the middle of the night, well, have I got the campfire for you. It's all fine and, more than that, agreeable as something you can watch with your parents. There's room for slumber-party horror films for youngsters, of course, and this one moves somewhere to the middle of that pack.