REVIEW: The Ghost Writer (2022)

dir. Paul Wilkins

There’s no shortage of allegory-soaked films that focus on the paralysing fear of creative obstruction, and the horror genre is the perfect place to explore such terrors. In this The Ghost Writer, from writer Guy Fee and co-writer / director Paul Wilkins, makes a valiant effort at tackling such themes in an innovative way that – despite a few missteps – ultimately delivers an interesting, if not entirely cohesive, narrative.

After the tragic death of his author father, writer Gilliger Graham (Luke Mably) travels to his childhood home to tie up loose ends and focus on his next project. Although successful in his own right, Gilliger has long laboured under the shadow of his esteemed father, so when he meets Jane (Andrea Deck) – a stranger who insists she knows him very well – he doesn’t welcome the mystery. He does however entertain plagiarising pages from an unpublished manuscript of his father’s which he finds hidden in the kitchen sink, pushing him closer to uncovering horrible truths long buried. 

Taking several paths to explore the same territory, the narrative can at times feel tedious and over-played. The script is complex, but sometimes gets a little lost as it moves in and out of flashbacks that don’t seem to belong to any one character. Mably however is fantastic, exuding empathy as he navigates intense emotions around his father’s death as well as his own mental breakdown.

As such although tonally unbalanced and at times confusing, The Ghost Writer is a unique take on well-trodden terrain, offering great performances from its small cast. 

© Jerry Samspon


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