7 out of 10
Release date: 4th August 2017
Director: Gareth Tunley
Cast: Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe, Dan Renton Skinner, Geoffrey McGivern, Rufus Jones, James Kenward Eyres, Rachel Stubbings with Niamh Cusack and Paul Kaye
Writer: Gareth Tunley
Trailer: THE GHOUL
Actor Gareth Tunley’s debut shares much in common with Ben Wheatley’s second film, Kill List. It’s set in a mundane world, recognisable as our own, but there’s a dash of the occult, Satan’s minions are more apparent and they are busy here in The Ghoul gathering more flies for his web (assuming the Devil is a spider).
Chris (TOM MEETEN – TANK 432) is a police detective who is seconded to London to investigate a double murder. His only lead is a man called Coulson (RUFUS JONES – STAN & OLLIE) who hangs around crime scenes. A bit of stalking reveals that the man sees a psychotherapist (NIAMH CUSACK – HEARTBEAT) so Chris goes undercover as a patient to find out more about Coulson, and that’s where the story begins to twist and turn. To reveal more would do this tasty debut a grave misservice.
The mood is dark and the cinematography shaky and unnerving. Chris’ London is a full of dark streets, a grey dusk and buildings with no lit windows, where are all the people? Sinister people populate this film as identities shift around and personalities tilt according to Chris. Tom Meeten is in every single scene (I think) and the actor makes light work of a complex role, a trouble character who says very little and listens attentively to all around him. The intro reminded me of Mike Leigh’s Naked and said film probably inspired the look of The Ghoul more than anything else (this is a guess).
The film is full of familiar actors from Ben Wheatley produced/directed films. Alice Lowe (THIS IS JINSY), Dan Renton Skinner (PREVENGE) and Geoffrey McGivern (STRESSED ERIC) all contribute excellent support in very interesting roles. Nobody is who they seem and nobody’s motives are clear until the end.
The soundtrack is incredible, by sometime actor/comedian (WAEN SHEPHERD – AAAAAAAAAAH!) and is very reminiscent of the theme from Mullholland Drive by Angelo Badlamenti. It serves to conjure up a potent atmosphere of disorientation and impossible gloom.
This is recommended for anybody that likes puzzle pieces where all the pieces simply cannot or do not fit. It’s outlandish, daring, upsetting and nightmarish all at the same time. This is down to the wonderful production values, the odd cinematography, wonderful actors and a great score. Thoroughly recommended for those that love to watch something different and outlandish. The devil is out there.
7 out of 10 – Supernatural mystery that will stay with you for days. Recommended for those that love being lost and frightened.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Tom Meeten: Prevenge, Tank 432, Aaaaaaaah!, Bill, Crackanory (TV), Paddington, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (TV), Burke & Hare, Weekender, Star Stories (TV), The Mighty Boosh (TV), Saxondale (TV), I Want Candy, Magicians
- Alice Lowe: Chubby Funny, Stoner Express, Adult Life Skills, Prevenge (dir), Burn Burn Burn, Black Mountain Poets, Aaaaaaaah!, Electricity, Locke (voice), The World’s End, Sightseers, This Is Jinsy (TV), Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (TV)
- Dan Renton Skinner: One Crazy Thing, Prevenge, High-Rise
- Geoffrey McGivern: This Is Jinsy (TV), Little Dorrit (TV), Blackball, Stressed Eric (voice)(TV), Smith & Jones (TV), Jonathan Creek (TV), Wilt
- Rufus Jones: Stan & Ollie, The Foreigner, W1A (TV), The Casual Vacancy (TV), Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show (TV), White Teeth (TV)
- Niamh Cusack: ChickLit, Departure, Testament of Youth, The Kid (2010), The Closer You Get, Heartbeat (TV), The Playboys (1992), Fools of Fortune, A Marriage of Inconvenience, Paris By Night
- Paul Kaye: Tomorrow (2017), Game of Thrones (TV), The Comedian’s Guide To Survival, Lillyhammer (TV), Blackwood, Dracula Untold, 8 Minutes Idle, Pusher (2012), Malice In Wonderland, Anuvahood, The Infidel, The Big I Am, Cass, Blackball, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Cody Banks 2, Very Important Dennis Pennis (TV)