Writer-director Gareth Tunley marks himself as one to watch with this ambitious debut, a psychological thriller set in London. Tom Meeten stars as Chris, a haggard police detective who’s off the force but still helps out his old mate Jim (Dan Renton Skinner) with difficult cases. The story opens at the scene of a baffling double murder, which leads to Chris to going undercover, signing up as a patient of psychiatrist Fisher (Niamh Cusack). He’s feigning mental illness to get hold of the records of a suspect, but begins to question his own sanity, as the boundaries between cover story and reality become considerably blurred.
But what is his reality? ‘The Ghoul’ will be too ambiguous for audiences who like a tidy twist, and its low budget edges are evident. But it’s an intriguing prospect for genre fans who relish complex narratives and Lynchian stylings, albeit in a grimy suburban setting. Alice Lowe, Paul Kaye, Geoffrey McGivern and Rufus Jones add interest and dark humour in key supporting roles, while Meeten nails the moody, downbeat vibe of a very British kind of film noir hero.