Ghost Stories

* * * (out of five)

Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s throwback to the classic British horror anthologies – films like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, Tales From The Crypt and Torture Garden, most popular in the 1960s – is most fun as exactly that, not only an exercise in nostalgia but also in quintessential Britishness. This is a film where every sky is grey and where, if a man can wear a tan raincoat, he will. It’s as British as it gets, highly deliberately so, and all the more fun for it.

It’s not particularly scary, but I’m not sure that’s a big problem. Nyman plays Phillip Goodman, a professional skeptic or myth-buster who exposes psychics, mediums and other frauds on his television show. When a celebrated skeptic from a previous generation – who is also his idol – tells him there are three cases he cannot explain, it’s up to our cynical hero to investigate.

Cue anxious men telling anxious stories of the time they were spooked by fiendish beasties. The three stories take place in classic locales – including some moors – and include lots of creaks and shadows and a few minor jump-scares. The emphasis is on true ghosts, not human horrors, so everything is kept at an arm’s remove. Like the earlier classic anthology films, Ghost Stories has a lot of resonance with classic creepy comics, though it’s based on Dyson and Nyman’s stage play.

It’s the kind of spooky event you can take your grandparents to, or your nine year old. Fun for Halloween, and certainly an original, at least for this century.

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