Film Review: The Ghoul
Gareth Tunley’s The Ghoul is a flexuous thriller. The film is patchy, but for the most part enjoyable.
Chris, a homicide detective, goes undercover to investigate a murder. He poses a patient for a psychotherapist to garner information on a suspect, but the line between the real and the imagined begin to blur…
Writer-director Gareth Tunley has created a jagged psychological thriller with The Ghoul. The film opens on an innocuous scene, but things become more complex after the first ten minutes. The narrative is one that will have viewers guessing; Tunley offers a jumpy narrative that pose questions and provides possible explanations.
The Ghoul has a shaky start. Initially, there is not much to assuage viewers. The shift from undercover patient to perceivably genuine one is not conveyed in a satisfying manner. Moreover, the production values in the initial section are not great. Footage appears unnecessarily dark in some of the early sequences, and the sound seems muffled. This may have been intentional, but it does not come across well. Nevertheless, both the production values and the film itself improve.
The narrative relies upon an unreliable narrator. Viewers are asked to stick with a protagonist with a conflicting story. The film will have the audience questioning what they see. The repeated scenes and footage add to the disrupted narrative, and for a while it is suitably distracting. As the film progresses however, most viewers will be able to guess the outcome long before it arrives. The double ending aims to leave the audience will an element of doubt. Tunley does not want to give a clean explanation for the events that take place. Tom Meeten gives a suitable performance as Chris, while Geoffrey McGivern, and Paul Kaye in a small role, are more lively.
The Ghoul is a directorial debut that shows some promise from Gareth Tunley. The film in imperfect, but interesting nevertheless.
The Ghoul is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.