Review: The Ghoul
Blu-ray: The Ghoul (2016)
Chris (Tom Meeten) is a homicide detective who is called to London to investigate a strange double murder, where the victims appeared to keep moving forward despite being shot multiple times to the face and chest. With the help of his old colleague Jim (Dan Renton Skinner) and former girlfriend Kathleen (Alice Lowe), Chris goes undercover as a patient to investigate the suspects psychotherapist; the mysterious Alexander Morland (Geoffrey McGivern) who seems to have connections with the occult. As Chris immerses himself ever deeper into the investigation, his grasp on reality becomes ever more fragile and he finds himself descending into madness and on a journey where the destination may only be the beginning of his problems.
The Ghoul is the debut feature of writer/director Gareth Tunley who does an excellent job of immersing you into the world and mindset of Chris. Despite working with a low budget, the tone of the movie works perfectly and an almost docu-drama look has you buying into the events unfolding in front of you, no matter how dark and unsettling it continues to get as the narrative unfolds.
Despite its title, The Ghoul is NOT a horror movie, though it does make your skin clammy while watching it, similar to the way that a lot of David Lynch movies also do. This is high praise indeed, as regular listeners to our podcast will know that I’m not a David Lynch fan (with a few exceptions, I really can’t get on with his movies), yet this treads similar ‘Lynchian’ ground, but in a way that engaged me to a far greater extent than any of David Lynch’s previous work. (I’m sure I’ll get plenty of negative feedback from that opinion!)
The Ghoul’s narrative twists and turns like the Möbius strip that is featured on numerous occasions throughout its 85 minute running time, while also having no definitive end to it. The viewer is taken on a mind bending journey where the supposed end has no real resolution and only serves to throw up more questions.
To give too much away would be to spoil the experience. Going into it knowing as little as possible helps the immersion of helplessness as you witness Chris descend into ever more dark and disturbing places, both in his world and in his mind.
From this showing, Gareth Tunley is somebody to keep an eye on. Despite the limited budget, he imbues The Ghoul with a tangible sense of despair that seeps out of the screen and pulls the viewer along with him on his journey to try and solve what was on first appearance going to be a regular murder investigation.
I’d love to see what Gareth could do with a bigger budget.
Once again Arrow Films supply a fantastic set of special features which help to give more background to the movie as well as being hugely entertaining.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed 5.1 audio
• Optional English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing
• Filmmakers’ commentary
• Interviews with the cast and crew
• The Baron, a 2013 short film by Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten and Steve Oram (Aaaaaaaah!, Sightseers)
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Adam Scovell, author of Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange”
You can buy The Ghoul by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.