Horror anthologies were fierce popular back in the day when the likes of The Twilight Zone scared audiences watching TV at home. Recently, Netflix has taken over with Black Mirror, offering more of a dystopian, episodic take.
Cinematically it's rare, though; you'd have to look back at the cult VHS films, which were actually pretty good - if obviously lower budget. So it was a ballsy move for co-directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman (who also stars) to adapt Dyson's stage play for the big screen and elements of it do pay off.
Nyman is Professor Goodman, a man who, we learn, had a difficult childhood and now makes his living catching spoofer Mediums for a low-end reality show. When a hero of his long thought dead resurfaces, Goodman is challenged with debunking three unsolved cases; a night watchman in an abandoned hospital (Paul Whitehouse), a young man plagued by a demon (a superb Alex Lawther) and a rich businessman dealing with a poltergeist (Martin Freeman).
Okay, first the good. The three core paranormal stories are all good; the first should really fall flat as you've certainly seen that type of thing countless times before, but it manages to engage and jolt on account of some strong pacing and an interesting Whitehouse character. The second, set around a broken down car in the woods, is similar; a familiar set-up enhanced by another genuinely great turn from 'The End of the F***ing World's' Lawther. This kid deserves to be a star; his range of emotions from one moment to another - funny, then terrified, then frightening - indicate incredible things for his future.
The third thread, while also sporadically unsettling, comes undone when attempts are made to somehow bring everything together. While delving any deeper would be spoiler territory, it never gels how it should and ends with an inevitable whimper and then a strange soundtrack choice that feels tonally peculiar.