THE delightfully dark and twisted minds of writer-director duo Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson bring high-concept horror lovingly on to the big-screen for this clever, unnerving film that leads you with a clawed hand up the garden path and delights in pulling the antique rug from under you.

Translating far more successfully from the duo’s stage play of the same name than you might think , the story follows professional ghost-story debunker Professor Phillip Goodman (played by Nyman himself) who has spent a career going around proving that the world of the supernatural is, to his highly sceptical mind, a load of old nonsense.

One day he receives a package in the mail from Mike Priddle, an old idol of his whom he has long wanted to meet in person. When he arrives at the now elderly Priddle’s caravan home, Phillip is presented and tasked with cracking three distinct supernaturally-themed cases that Priddle was never able to solve himself.

These include a night watchman (Paul Whitehouse) left disturbed after experiencing some nasty bumps in the night at an old factory; a troubled young man (Alex Lawther) who encountered something horrifying in the dark woods; and finally an affluent businessman (Martin Freeman) who encountered terrifying ghostly apparitions while waiting for the birth of his child.

The idea of an anthology isn’t exactly new to the horror genre, but this is a prime example of how, when armed with a smart script and a real reverence for both horror of old and the possibilities of moulding it into something new, the concept can work a treat.

Nyman and Dyson manage to make the three stories equally strong. They also pull off the difficult trick of having them work as individual tales while at the same time weaving them together to make a more meaningful overall picture.

The film functions almost like an unsettling jigsaw puzzle; each of the pieces are scary to look at on their own, while hinting at something even more insidiously unnerving to come and eventually fitting together to make a larger image that hinges on a moment of realisation that haunts beyond the credits.

The frights here are solidly-mounted, ranging from protracted tension to well-timed and well-earned jump scares.

Packing this love-letter to horror with plenty of surprises, a wry sense of humour and an overarching mystery that’s heaps of fun to unpack, Nyman and Dyson have created a playful, subversive little chiller that will work just as well for genre devotees as more casual viewers looking for a good old-fashioned fright.