Gliding its way into Cineworld on 6th April is Ghost Stories, a blast of creepy horror that's set to bring a chill to your spring movie season.
Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson adapt their own smash-hit stage production, with the former reprising his role as paranormal sceptic Professor Goodman. When he receives a message seemingly from beyond the grave, Goodman seeks out three men who allege they have come into contact with the supernatural. And that's where the fun really begins...
Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman are the persecuted souls in this atmospheric slice of British Gothic. The movie drew rave reviews at last year's London Film Festival and currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's why you need to make a date with the film...
1. It's adapted from the hit stage play
Ghost Stories made its debut in Liverpool in February 2010 before transferring to London's West End. It was advertised with photos of shrieking audience members, and came with a strict advisory notice that no under 15's should be admitted. The show built a sense of mystique and lived up to its billing, causing audiences to leap out of their seat in shock.
For those who were brave enough to sit through the theatre production, the movie will likely prove a nostalgic and entertaining stroll down memory lane, as they see how Nyman and Dyson have expanded the material in a cinematic sense. And if you didn't see it? Well here's a little taster of the audience reaction.
2. It plays on your deepest fears...
Each of the three ghost stories in question is designed to get under your skin. Paul Whitehouse plays a night watchman at a former lunatic asylum, who becomes rattled by odd noises and moving objects. Lawther plays a teenager who, having stolen his parents' car and driven into the woods, is persecuted by something demonic. And Freeman is a wealthy lawyer whose newly pregnant wife seemingly ushers in something frightening.
There are no zombies, aliens or knife-wielding serial killers here. This is all designed to play on your mind – and as we know, that's always scarier.
3. It's got a superb cast
Anchored by Nyman as the troubled Professor Goodman, the movie offers an intriguing chance to see Whitehouse in a new light. Harry Enfield's regular partner in crime digs deep within himself to portray a persecuted man with a chilling story to tell, an excellent example of casting against type. Likewise Freeman, who is atypically unpleasant as the smug rich guy coming apart at the seams. And Lawther, best known as the blackmail victim in infamous Black Mirror episode 'Shut Up and Dance', practically emanates fear during his dread-inducing storyline.
4. It looks – and sounds – spellbinding
Defying its big-budget Hollywood cousins, Ghost Stories envelops us in a spectral atmosphere. Shot in and around Yorkshire in windswept, washed-out hues, the movie generates a genuine sense of the uncanny. Those who love classic British Hammer horror, and also the spooky tales from Victorian masters like M.R. James and Charles Dickens, will find a lot to enjoy.
Meanwhile Haim Frank Ilfman's score is another reason to see the movie on the big screen, establishing a sense of eerie menace that comes into greater focus as the movie proceeds.
5. It will make you jump – repeatedly
The movie not only generates that delicious sense of spine-tingling anticipation, it also delivers seat-shaking shocks when necessary. Of course, we can't tell you when they occur – you'll just have to watch for yourselves when Ghost Stories is released on 6th April.