Wednesday 13 November 2013

Urban Ghost Story (1998)

Not a new film by any means, but its blend of supernatural horror and gritty working class conditions are just up my street, and often these days just the kind of thing I ham-fistedly try to create in some of my own fiction.

After a terrible car crash which leaves her boyfriend dead, consumed in flames, Lizzie Fisher (Heather Ann Foster) starts to attract supernatural incurrences, with furniture moving of its own accord, inexplicable disgusting smells and noises. She lives with her mother (Stephanie Buttle) in a grim block of flats in Scotland. With her mother threatened by a vicious loan shark and surrounded by people hooked on drugs, she finds little sympathy with her plight until her mother contacts a journalist (Jason Connery) who recently wrote articles in the local paper about poltergeists - which is what, at this point, seems the likeliest thing to have been drawn to Lizzie.

To me this has one of those all but perfect supernatural horror story plots, complete with believable characters and grimly realistic backgrounds. The acting is great, the dialogue convincing, and the area in which it is set a nightmare in itself without the incursion of a hostile supernatural force. The twists in what happens are riveting, as is the final revelation, which pulls no punches.

I saw this film for the first time at the Halifax Ghost Story Festival and was so impressed with it that I immediately ordered it on DVD. Highly recommended.

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