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Open the Casebook, but be careful ...
on 15 February 2014
It's hugely refreshing to find a horror film that tries (and achieves) something a little different. There are many possession-style stories out there, where the spirit of previous residents of a house hang around long enough to curse successive inhabitants. There are masses of low-budget horrors which attempt to mask their lack of finances by concentrating on slamming doors, shadows and figures appearing in the corner of the viewers' perception to create an unnerving effect.
'The Casebook of Eddie Brewer' has a sprinkling of the above, but it tells a story that doesn't need to resort to using such well-worn themes. Although the idea of a socially misunderstood 'ghost hunter type' has been done before, such personalities are usually peripheral. As the title suggests, Ian Brooker's Eddie Brewer is the main character here, and it is his determination and quiet strength that provides the lifeblood of the story. He is immediately easy to like, especially when his gentle manners are ridiculed by those he meets. It's impossible not to sympathise when callers to the radio show on which he regularly guests call on his paranormal skills to answer questions of mind-numbing mediocrity.
Fans of 'Most Haunted' and the BBC's ground-breaking 'Ghostwatch' will be intrigued and thrilled with this story, which uses familiar-looking workplaces and homes as possible targets for spirits (Eddie's inadvertant meeting with one in a cellar is really quite unnerving).
Eddie is ably supported by a variety of well-rounded characters, played by actors who's faces you may well recognise. Free from spectacle and any CGI intrusion, this is a very enjoyable, eerie slow-burner.