Monday, 14 March 2011

Death Of A Ghost Hunter (2007).

Patti Tindall plays Carter Simms, a paranormal investigator out to discover proof of ghostly activity in the notorious Masterson home. She is joined by Colin Green (played by Mike Marsh), the man who will set up the video equipment and try to keep it in order, and writer Yvette Sandoval (played by Davina Joy). There’s also the deeply religious Mary Young Mortenson (Lindsay Page) who is there because the owner wanted her there.

Death Of A Ghost Hunter gets a few things right. It’s set up as a reconstruction which means that while we do get some shaky-cam moments and some night-vision happening here and there we also get scenes that are set up with the emphasis more on atmosphere and creepiness as opposed to 100% realism. It also doesn’t do too badly in keeping things mildly tense even while there’s not all that much going on. The exchanges between the people waiting around inside the house are quite believable and play out, within the context of the tale, realistically enough. I’d even say that some of the actual scientific evidence gathered is impressively low-key and realistic. Though much of it isn’t.

But the many faults just add up to weigh this movie down so low that it can never rise to anywhere even close to the average mark. The acting from almost everyone involved is quite bad, especially from leading lady Tindall who sleeps through her role and gives the impression that her character couldn’t even spell out EVP. Green and Sandoval almost get by, almost, but Mortenson is allowed to go so ridiculously over the top in her performance that it ruins every scene anyway.

Director Sean Tretta (who co-wrote the screenplay with Mike Marsh)  seems to have good intentions and there are moments when you think Death Of A Ghost Hunter might just creep into territory that makes you class it as “decent” but then along comes another fumble that undoes the good work.
When the scares become overt and obvious we’re stuck with some poor effects work and execution that’s reminiscent of something from The SyFy Channel and when we get into the second half of the movie everything just becomes a bit boring and bland when it should really be ratcheting up to a tense, twisted finale. One or two little touches save it from being a complete disaster but that’s definitely faint praise.

It deserves points for trying, and for not just jumping on the whole “found footage” bandwagon, but everyone involved should have gone all out to shoehorn actual scares in here and make the thing more of an intense journey than a spooky Hallmark TV movie (which is what it feels like).

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