The Verse’s Louise Conway reviews Gareth Tunley’s first feature film The Ghoul
Expect Möbius strips and macabre thrills.Written and directed by Gareth Tunley, The Ghoul comes from a place in British independent cinema where Ben Wheatley would be at home and Alice Lowe is always available to add a quirk or two.
Starring Tom Meeten as Chris; a detective goes undercover while visiting a psychotherapist, to help him understand a peculiar double murder. As a detective Chris is portrayed as both Sherlock and Watson combined. However, even the most esteemed detective duo in English history would be thrown by this reality and fantasy hybrid.
From the offset, a film around interwoven ideas and identities seems pretty straightforward. Ten minutes into the film it is as though we already know how it will resolve. However, Tunley manages to wonderfully distract the audience into a world of uncertainty.
The Ghoul draws upon ideas from philosophy and the magical. Schizophrenia has been frequently explored throughout cinema’s history. Interestingly, it presents two personalities for each character. Distorting the experience of reality for the audience, confusing our perceptions of the real and presenting the condition of schizophrenia in a more complex way.
Benjamin Pritchard’s cinematography is beautifully amateurish. His style reproduces some of the techniques you stumble through when you first use a video camera. But then there are moments of absolute perfection, where every motion and emotion is captured in a single shot.
It is hard to decide where to end with this review, as a film so filled with ideas theories. It not only leaves you sitting in your seat as the credits role past trying to compile all the information into a perfectly fitting puzzle, it sets you up to watch the film all over again.
Tunley succeeds in creating a visceral experience, that is complex and haunting. The Ghoul was shown as preview as part of the BIFA Independents screenings, happening each month in cities all over the UK, including Brighton’s Odeon. Visit the website to find out about more showings.