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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: Ghostlight (2013)

Film Review: Ghostlight (2013)

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Andrew wins a radio contest to spend one night alone in a haunted theater on the 80th anniversary of the bloody murder/suicide that occurred within its walls. His prize: $50,000. His task: To spend 12 hours alone inside. The catch: The theater has been reportedly haunted ever since the tragedy 80 years ago, and has been plagued by a series of mysterious deaths in the years since. As Andrew is locked inside the theater for the night, the ghosts and secrets of its past begin to reveal themselves to him. Will he make it through the night to collect his prize? And will he get out before the murderous ghosts take hold of him forever?


Movies are more than just short stories to thrill and entertain us, most of the time they also offer up little bits of information (usually specific to something in the film), helping us all to increase our knowledge of the world outside of our own. Ghostlight, is no different. For anyone who has never acted in a theatre before wouldn’t know all the vast superstations that are associated with theatres, actors and overall productions. This movie helped me to understand what a ghost light really is and the functionality of it. For those of you who don’t know what the ghost light is, it’s a light that is on the stage when the theatre is empty or dark; it’s not only there for safety precautions but to appease the ghosts of the theatre, allowing them to perform there when the theatre is closed.


How much of this has to do with the movie? Not much more than a brief explanation of what the lamp is and why it is there. So what is the movie about? Well it’s more of an uninspired revenge ghost story, complete with foreseeable ending and not a lot of suspense, scares, or originality. It feels like the same movie that we have seen before and can be filed under the new horror sub genre of hunted theatres.

The movie opens with a women, who is later introduced as Mira (Lisa Coronado) one of the main characters, singing on a stage when all of a sudden her throat is slit. She awakens next to her husband, Andrew (Brian Sutherland) who tries to calm her down and get her back in the right frame of mind, but could this dream be a premonition of something more sinister waiting to happen? They make their way to the kitchen, Mira is still visible shaken by her dream and through a voiceover from an unseen TV, we find out that Andrew has won a chance to win fifty thousand dollars by spending the night in a haunted theatre. Mira doesn’t want him to go through with it, but he reminds her how badly they need the money, and of course the financial needs outweigh Mira’s bad feelings.


They meet the owner of the theatre and financier of the contest, known mealy as Mr. Black (Dennis Kleinsmith). Andrew follows Mr. Black into the building to hear all the history behind the haunting while Mira chooses to stay outside with their daughter Emma (Eden Campbell). Now this part confused me for a second, but is cleared up quickly as it is the first mention of the daughter in any form. And just as you start to wonder where she has been they cut back into the building where Mr. Black tells Andrew that his essay on why he needed to money touched and moved him, since it was to pay the pay for the car accident that not only had killed him for several seconds but also killed there only daughter. But the mother can still see, hear and talk to her daughter, but the father cannot.

This is a popular theme with the movie, mentioning something that pertained to the ghosts and then throw that item into the next scene. They do this with the actress who was killed by her husband, while having an affair with the piano player. She always needed roses in her dressing room, and then the next scene, the dead daughter finds a rose outside the building and hands it to her mother. This makes the movie feel very unintelligent, and makes you feel kind of cheated as the viewer, almost like they didn’t trust you to remember what parts of the plot are important and symbols to watch out for.


The history lesson ends with another ominous fact of how people in the theatre are still killed, and always in a group of three. Honestly, you can just stop the movie there, you can already piece together to ending and save yourself an hour of Andrew being locked in the theatre as shadows and unforeseen sounds start to make him question if the theatre is really haunted or if he is the heel of an elaborate joke.

So the ghosts that are haunting the theatre are the above mention love triangle. We have the original owner and builder of the theatre, Reginald, his cheating wife and singer/actress, Madeline, and the piano player Eddie. Reginald catches them in the act in her dressing room, slits her throat and stabs Eddie to death. He then drags her up the stairs onto the stage and plunges the knife into his own heart. The longer Andrew stays in the theatre the more relics he finds from this story, first it’s just a copy of a scene between the three of them, and then next the knife and so on. As more things start to happen to Andrew, the ghost of Madeline takes the ghost of their daughter, prompting Mira to follow them to the theatre for the final act.


Like I mentioned earlier the movie is predictable, but left me with a fuzzy understanding with the final message, I don’t want to ruin the ending (but really you should have figured it out just by reading this review) but they all end up dead, and the way the conversation goes between Andrew, Mira, and Emma, they are better off dead together then living separately. I really hope that, that’s not the message they were trying to put across. I also feel like they missed a great opportunity to use more than just the three ghosts, if more people had died there then why aren’t their spirits hanging around and also trying to scare or even helping Andrew. But even through all of this the one thing that bothered me the most was that the version I saw didn’t have the sound synced up correctly, making it so the characters mouths would move slightly before the sound would start and I found myself paying way more attention to this then the movie itself. If this is just my copy or the final cut is a question I can’t answer.


Even though I might not have found this movie to my taste, it’s in no way one of the worst that I have seen. So if you’re a true horror fanatic and have to see everything that you can get your hands on, it is worth a watch, even if it’s just to see the great over acting of Mr. Black.

One comment

  1. Just watched this movie on Popcornflix – no voice sync issues there – and the Mr Black scenes were indeed a highlight.

    The message I got from the story was twofold: don’t trust strangers that want you to be alone in a certain place for an extended period of time in case you end up being a human sacrifice of some kind. And listen to your wife.


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