Ghost Stories Blu-ray review

This bigscreen adaptation of the hit stage production is a nostalgic treat for fright fans

Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) has devoted his life to debunking the supernatural. However, this deeply held scepticism is put to the test when he's contacted by a former paranormal investigator who challenges Phillip to look into three seemingly inexplicable hauntings…

Based on their successful stage play of the same name, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman's Ghost Stories is an entertaining throwback to the Amicus horror anthologies of the '60s and '70s. And while this film's trio of ghost stories adhere to instantly recognisable genre tropes and don't do anything particularly revelatory, they still deliver the requisite spooky chills and, best of all, bring a sense of fun back to a genre that too often falls into the trap of being mean-spirited and nasty.

Dyson and Nyman's carefully constructed film also rewards repeated viewings, which will allow you to pick up on the 'clues' that are dotted throughout the tales. It also allows genre fans to spot the myriad homages and 'Easter Eggs' that the filmmakers have sprinkled throughout. These range from the blindingly obvious (a direct lift from Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead) to the far more obscure (a visual nod to an old Pan Book of Horror Stories cover).

Add to this some excellent performances from Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther and Martin Freeman, and the result is an enjoyably nostalgic cinematic ghost ride; one that will both send a shiver down your spine and put a smile on your face.

Picture: Ghost Stories arrives on Blu-ray with a technically impressive, if not overtly dynamic AVC 2.40:1 Full HD presentation. Given the nature of the subject matter and the overcast exterior locations, it's no surprise to see that the film's palette often heads to the gloomier end of the colour spectrum. That said, when called upon to handle bold primaries (as with the red of the electric fire in Chapter 4 and the door of Simon's house in Chapter 6), they look vivid and richly saturated.

Where the encode really excels though is as a black level torture test for your display. All three stories, but especially the one concerning a night watchman (Chapters 3 and 4), play out in extremely dark settings – yet there's still plenty of fine detail to be picked out in the shadows, providing your screen is up to the task.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: As you'd expect, sound design plays a huge role in the film's ability to ramp up your feeling of unease and deliver some effective scares. Right from the off, where the production company logos are joined by the sound of water dripping around you, Ghost Stories' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix delivers a masterclass in doing just that. From perfectly placed surround effects that move seamlessly around the soundstage to sudden, booming bass impacts, the track never falters when it comes to putting you at the heart of the onscreen events.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: A fantastically informative (and frequently very amusing) audio commentary from Dyson and Nyman is joined by a 13 minute Making of… featurette; a four minute look at the recording of the score at Air Studios that expands slightly on material seen in the previous featurette; a quick four minute piece highlighting three errors that the filmmakers missed during the shoot that had to be fixed digitally prior to release; and a fun seven minute Rorschach Test promo video.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Spookily good AV ensures that these fun ghost stories are well worth repeated visits on Blu-ray.

Ghost Stories, Lionsgate, Region B BD, £25