Summer of Horror: Ghost Stories So close to greatness...

Ghost Stories is a 2018 British horror anthology film about a paranormal skeptic/debunker challenged by a dying former skeptic to rationally explain three inexplicable cases of alleged hauntings. The first tale involves a night security guard at an abandoned mental asylum (yes, really). The second follows a paranoid teen living “alone” in his parents’ old house. And the third concerns a wealthy expectant father dealing the stress of his wife being in hospital care due to pregnancy complications. All three tales, as you may have guessed, include classic haunting/poltergeist activity as their central premise. 

I have a well-documented love of the anthology format, and this film started getting positive buzz long before its public release. But the tenor of some of the reviews I read seemed to be trying to temper expectations without going into specifics about what keeps the movie from being an all-timer. Naturally, that can only mean one thing: Twist ending. That much shouldn’t be seen as a surprise nor a spoiler, given the subject matter. However, I bring it up because there’s no other way to really state that Ghost Stories is good, very good, at times excellent, but comes up just short of great due to that ending.

All you need to know, if you do have any interest in the film, is that all three tales are uniformly excellent – classical, well-executed paranormal horror that hits all the right beats. Often you expect mixed quality as a given with anthologies, but this one maintains consistency throughout, only showing any weakness in the wraparound story and its ending. I personally didn’t find that the ending detracted significantly from my experience with the rest of the film, but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing (in other words, if you find the ending to be the most important part of a film), you may want to steer clear. But you would be missing out on some first class modern ghost stories.

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