Maya – the young producer of a ghost hunting show – is about to see her show get cancelled and her efforts to save it include taking her team to a haunted opera house in the Deep South. What will the G.H.O.S.T. team do when they realize that the hunters have become the haunted?
General Haunting Observation & Search Team is what G.H.O.S.T. stands for and that’s the name of the show that Maya McKintosh (Kathy Butler Sandvoss) heads up along with her team of ghostbusters which include Cryptozoologist G.B. (Dave Tunik) and tech manager Seth (Clint Jones). The three of them are about to investigate a supposedly haunted Opera House located in Anderson, NC but the caretaker of the building, Mr. Maximillian (Jack Stetcher) admonishes them to leave their cameras running & leave the opera house before dark. Apparently, there’s some things that go bump in the night but Maya manages to convince Maximillian to allow them to stay locked in for the evening so that they can produce their show. Maya is desperate to produce a great episode so that she can stave off cancellation and is willing to go the extra mile to do so. Even if it means spending the night in a haunted opera house in North Carolina…
From then on we get the standard haunted house tropes thrown at us. We hear ethereal screams in the night that come from nowhere, sounds coming from the walls, shadows in the background, items disappearing and reappearing somewhere else, etc, etc. There really isn’t much of anything new but the script (By director Jamie McRoberts) is actually pretty decent. Where the script starts to go awry is when it tries to be a lot bigger than the meager budget this film was produced on can handle. It seems that the opera house was once used as a triage center during the civil war and the attempt to visualize this particular period in history looks and feels cheap. There’s also a needlessly complicated backstory (Featuring lots of flashbacks) involving Maya’s childhood, zombies(!), vampires(!!) & a creepy looking character who speaks an odd language known as The Moroi (Matthew Ewald). Somehow Maya is connected to events that took place at this opera house but in all honesty, it gets so convoluted that I really didn’t care after awhile.
This doesn’t make G.H.O.S.T. a bad film but it does make it one that demands you pay close attention to it and upon close scrutiny all of the chinks in its decidedly low budget look come shining through. That being said, the film looks pretty good overall with some interesting & inventive cinematography by George Blalock, his lighting choices really highlight some of the later scenes in the film and lend a real spookiness to the proceedings. The performances rate from “Meh” to “Not too shabby” but no one is especially bad. Kathy Butler Sandvoss has a appealing smile & an unconventional beauty that is both intriguing and appealing. Matthew Ewald doesn’t have an especially big part here but as The Moroi he manages to essay a marvelously eerie and unnerving character most convincingly. All other tech credits are solid save for the sound recording. A lot of the time actors seemed to be too far away for whatever microphones were used here to be heard. It happens way too much to be ignored and it’s something that annoyed me since I had to turn the volume way up on my TV to hear certain lines being recited.
G.H.O.S.T. does a good enough job keeping its audience interested despite its wacky screenplay to merit a watch though. A strong performance from Sandvoss and a few effective scenes help it go by painlessly. There are the technical hiccups I mentioned earlier but considering its reported $10,000 budget…it does OK for itself. If anything its biggest problem is that it tries too hard to look more expensive than it actually cost and in the end that ends up making it look even cheaper. This is the second production from MUTANTVILLE that I’ve watched this week (The first being “Tales From Mutantville”) and I gotta say that these people have their hearts in the right place. It’s obvious that everyone involved has a love for the genre and want to make quality horror films. And although they don’t have the money for it just yet they definitely have the desire and a fair amount of talent as well. I expect to see bigger and better films coming from them in the future and I think you should too!
Overall, G.H.O.S.T. is a decent little film that suffers from its needlessly complicated/overreaching script and some glaring technical issues but it has a few moments that’ll make you sit up and take notice. The good people at MUTANTVILLE have piqued my interest and I anxiously await to see what they have in store for me in the future.
G.H.O.S.T. – 2.5 out of 5 shrouds.