Screenplay by: Stephen Volk
Directed by: Lesley Manning
It is unlikely you can name an American, English, Korean or Japanese horror film that I haven’t seen. There are very few that have scared me. Ghostwatch, however, scared the living daylights out of me. It is, hands-down, the scariest horror film I’ve ever seen.
I first heard about Ghostwatch in a video about controversial television broadcasts. Apparently, as this was presented as a “documentary”, a lot of people thought it was real and called the BBC to complain. So, when I watched it, I clearly knew that it was not meant to be serious…
… but it was just so good that that didn’t matter.
The writer and director very much capitalised on the skills and fame of the presenters, who played themselves. They each presented themselves in ways consistent with what I knew about them, making it easy to get sucked in.
The flow of the documentary was also very realistic. We saw some goofy stuff at the start, getting more serious as new information was uncovered, just like real documentaries. We weren’t led down certain paths for cheap scares; the film unfolded the way a real documentary likely would.
I actually ended up trembling towards the end of the film. The only thing that stopped me becoming a complete and utter wreck was some goofy stuff “going wrong” in the studio – lights exploding, a camera rolling away on its own, etc. If those goofy moments had been excluded, save for a big, climatic studio disaster near the end of the film, it would have traumatised me.
A+, BBC. Marvelous work!