‘The Ghoul’ is a shifting thriller that examines the double persona of the protagonist it presents.
The film surrounds a monotone type detective Chris (Tom Meetan) that begins to investigate an odd homicide case. As he begins his journey to unravel the truth about the homicide he becomes a patient to a psychotherapist who he believes is somehow linked to the unexplainable murder. Whilst his sessions progress, the truth becomes more blurred than clear, as we are left in a state of unknown about Chris’s identity.
Whilst the story seems fascinating and intriguing the style of the film lacks certain value. One of the things that let the film down is the unchallenging use of micro elements. For example, the juxtaposition of colour is underused to express the double persona that Chris holds, and whilst the cinematography at times reflects the mental state of Chris well, certain shots are too fragile to connect with the audience in any meaningful way. Similarly, the music by Waen Shepherd is a nice companion and reflects the themes of the film well, however it does not develop on the tension and claustrophobia the protagonist feels.
However, ‘The Ghoul’ is not all unchallenging. An interesting element in ‘The Ghoul’ is the city of London which is somewhat personified to us like a looming character shadowing over Chris. Whilst long shots of London are used repeatedly throughout the film, at times they are presented too weak to challenge the mind of Chris but rather mirror his depression back to him thus giving us an another dimension to think about, as we follow the uncertain and unstable life of Chris.
To conclude, credit has to be given to Tunley for tackling such a tough story on his directorial debut. Many would shy away from this challenge, and with a limited budget, it can be seen why certain things did not reach their potential. As a story teller, Tunley showcases his skill to understand that the viewer must be gripped throughout the film, even though at times several micro elements fall short to fulfil his vision they still give us an insight into the themes of the film. ‘The Ghoul’ may not be top of the list for many psychological drama fans with its limited budget production, but it certainly tingles the mind with the psychological messages and themes it displays.