Urban Ghost Story

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The supernatural has been taken over by Californian effects companies. It's not easy to be afraid any more without references to green vomit, or the ever-undead. Genevieve Jolliffe goes to a Glasgow highrise and finds an active poltergeist. Also there is Lizzie (Heather Ann Foster), who survived a car crash that killed her friend, Kevin. Lizzie is 14, a silent witness to the poverty of their lives, with mum (Stephanie Buttle) struggling to cope on her own. At night, furniture is moving in her room and she hears scratching and banging.

In despair, mum calls a journalist (Jason Connery) on the evening paper, who writes a series of sensational stories about the haunting. Psychic experts move in with their aparatus. The flat is occupied by strangers, who want to use the situation for their own ends. The journalist pretends to be sympathetic, but fully intends to expose it as a hoax. The social services make threats.

Jolliffe is more interested in Lizzie's state of mind, her guilt about the accident, the terror she feels and experiences, the isolation of her life. Foster's performace is so powerful and moving, it leaves scars on the memory. Buttle, also, is strong. The underside of Glasgow life is captured with merciless accuracy. Connery stands out as someone who shouldn't be there. Beside Foster and Buttle, he knocks on wood.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A teen who survives a car crash finds herself the focus of things that go bump in the night.
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Director: Genevieve Jolliffe

Writer: Genevieve Jolliffe, Chris Jones

Starring: Jason Connery, Stephanie Buttle, Heather Ann Foster, Nicola Stapleton, James Cosmo, Elizabeth Berrington, Siri Neal, Andreas Wisniewski, Billy Boyd, Kenneth Bryans, Carolyn Bonnyman

Year: 1998

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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