When I selected this from the Amazon suggests pile I figured it was a newer film. Oh well.
I also apologize for missing two days! Here is a Tuesday review as apology.
Death of a Ghost Hunter is pretty much what one would expect of a film with that name, no production value, and at least as far as I can tell, very little marketing. We follow Carter (Patti Tindall), a ghost hunter who is investigating a supposedly haunted house. Let’s just stop there—you’ve all seen this movie before. Without even watching the film I bet you can guess 5 plot points.
Now, there is nothing wrong with genre flicks. I love Korean revenge cinema, and just about every single one of those movies follows the same premise: a man is wronged and must go after those who wronged him and beat the living crap out of them in great style. Sure, it is all kind of the same, but I enjoy it. I also enjoy movies about haunted houses. However, that does not mean I want my haunted house films to be absolute crap, which this is.
First off, do you like narration? Do you like a lot of narration? Cause that is what this film will give you. A flat reading of the setting and events, complimented by junior high school level writing quality. Other aspects of the story (a home passed down through generations that has been largely ignored) could have been interesting, but the indifferent narration made it feel like one of those awful science videos we used to watch in elementary school.
Crappy narration aside, the dialogue is also incredibly declarative. “You want me to investigate this house for $5,000”—it is funny to put that in quotations as it is actually paraphrased, but whatever. Further, if someone was going to drive from California to Arizona for a job, wouldn’t they already be fairly committed? I know the drive isn’t necessarily that long, but this seems kind of stupid. Why not just have the overbearing narration say: the job sounds a little silly, but for five grand, who cares?
The film isn’t found footage, but it probably should have been. Yes, I just said that. The camerawork is uneven, weird, and often too close to the actors. If they had opted for the shortcut of found footage it might have made it all seem less wobbly. The color filtration is likewise kind of odd—it seems like the visual equipment used is several years old, or not professional grade quality. Everything has a washed out feel to it that makes it look like a home video (once again, go for the found footage angle).
Carter is requested to have other people work with her, and this actually compounds the writing problems. “I read your book and found the analytic statements good.” What? If someone said that about anything I wrote I would: first, be happy someone read something, and then wonder if they were a robot. Goddamn robots.
So anyway, Carter, the cameraman, the writer, and the robot get to work in no time. The robot is also a spiritual medium, so it obviously has wifi access. None of the characters are interesting, and the flatness of it all made it hard for me to tell them apart plot wise. I also don’t get the drive behind so many horror films to put obnoxious or unlikable characters together. The brief jump we might get when the prick gets what is coming far outweighs the audience detachment throughout the rest of the movie.
So, I just realized that robot is actually the writer, and that the psychic is not the robotic one, but I really liked my wifi joke, so I’m just going to admit this here and pretend like I can’t go back and edit things.
The twists in the film can be seen coming from about a mile away. While predictability is not necessarily a bad thing, but here it is just stupid. Further, the acting is simply atrocious. Mary Young—the one I thought was a robot, is cast as a stupid Christian girl who can’t see reason. The film can’t stop there, but they also make her sexually naïve, rude, and casually racist. I’m not a white knight for Christianity, but if you want to criticize a group maybe don’t use a paper thin straw man, or straw woman in this case.
The sad thing is that there are some interesting ideas present here. You could take these ideas and rebuild it into something a lot more engaging. As is, this is just a snoozer that lacks even mocking potential. 2/10.