Posts Tagged ‘Ghost’

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Based on The Winchester Mystery House mansion in San Jose, California, where Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Winchester is visited by a doctor to test her sanity.

Directors Michael and Peter Spierig offer an old school paint by numbers ghost story with a fistful of effective jump scares and solid camera work. The recreated period, costumes and setting add to the atmosphere, with the eerie unorthodox Winchester house (and star of the film) is wonderfully created, any paranormal sleuths or those who watch ghost investigation programmes will no doubt be familiar with the mansion.

The real-life story aspect adds additional interest with high-class horror performances from the excellent Helen Mirren and reliable Jason Clarke as Dr. Eric Price. Sarah Snook is notable ‎Jason Clarke. Spierigs and writer Tom Vaughan deliver high collars, possession, visions, poltergeist activity, there’s tiresome tropes of redemption and spooky The Haunted and Hill House-like ghost forgiveness.

Horror fans will no doubt spot the butler twist a mile off and raise an eyebrow at Clarke’s Price subplot but that isn’t a bad thing if you like good old fashion well produced big budget ghost stories.

Ghostbusters Movie Poster

Parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler along with everyday man Winston Zeddemore try to prevent the end of the world by stopping a god, Gozer the Gozerian.

Director Ivan Reitman, with László Kovács’ cinematography offer a grounded feel to the wacky characters and supernatural story line thanks to the on location city scenes which are complemented by Dan Aykroyd’s and Harold Ramis’ witty writing. There’s an excellent 80s soundtrack and wide ranging score by Elmer Bernstein. Not only does Ghostbusters work as a piece of entertainment it captures New York during the political and social Reagan-era, a different time.

The ghost wrangling cast are excellent, Bill Murray gives a hilarious deadpan performance as the team come together. Aykroyd, Ramis and Hudson offer great comic turns. The supporting cast are also strong, Sigourney Weaver is on fine form as Dana Barrett, Rick Moranis as Louis Tully and William Atherton as bureaucrat Walter Peck are particularly notably. Annie Potts is humorous as crabby but likable Janine Melnitz. Tully’s crush on Barrett is humorously played out. Weaver gets to give a full range of emotion, right down to playing possessed. As well as eggs cooking on worktops and ghouls in fridges there’s also a horrific scene where Barrett is gagged and dragged by evil hands across a room on a chair. Many of the effects still hold up and the optical ghosts remain eerie.

There’s a perfect a blend of special effects and comedy, too many moments to mention, notable is the scene at the hotel where armed with their proton weapons the team go to capture a greedy ghost and Venkman gets slimed. Packed with quotable lines, Reitman offers paranormal and supernatural hi-jinks including demon dogs, skeletons, spectres as well as chuckles. Together Aykroyd and Ramis along with Reitman and crew not only deliver a great film but they forge some pop-culture equipment, the iconic Ecto-1 that the Ghostbusters use to travel, proton packs, the P.K.E. Meters, containment unit and the like.

From the New York Public Library where they encounter a elegant ghost that transforms into a horrifying spook, to the showdown against Gozer and the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the witty jokes, the chemistry on screen and the effects are magical. A classic to be treasured.

During the Blitz of World War II, a school teacher evacuates her schoolchildren to a mansion which may or may not be haunted. 


Phoebe Fox as Eve Parkins is great, the actress is strong enough and effortlessly carries the film. Helen McCrory as headmistress Hogg in a supporting role is also notable. Director Tom Harper offers an atmospheric, visually interesting sequel, it’s not a cheap cash in with great sets and finely done effects. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, it’s just it’s been done before in similar films recently like The Awakening, The Orphanage and a handful of creepier other European chillers. It is a mediocre sequel with high production values, it could have fitted into a hour episode of Tales of the Unexpected as the character’s from a pilot to the headmistress’ back stories feel stereotype and shoe horned. 

Where as its remake predecessor was a classic style ghost story and borrowed from its 80s counterpart and by default the source material, it had its own Hammer style charm. This offering, possibly due to its change in time period loses it’s Gothic mood, feels it’s retreading old ground and is short on tension and scares.

As old school ghost stories go it does what it say on the tin, but it’s just not as psychological, memorable or a creepy as the likes of Haunt, The Haunting, Legend of Hell House, Haunted or more recently, Haunt, The Beckoning, Jessabelle or The Babadook to name a few.
 

A police officer is killed on duty, however, he is recruited by the Rest In Peace Department who capture ‘Deados’ that escape the afterlife. Sent back to Earth as a ghost with a new body of an old man he is partnered with a ghost cowboy who to the living looks like a leggy blonde.

With elements of Ghost (1990) and Ghostbusters (1984) and in the vein of Men in Black (1997) to name a few R.I.P.D is an entertaining enough ride. Kevin Bacon is on his usual fine form and has the most fun with his role, Jeff Bridges is perfectly cast as the aged Cowboy Roy, Ryan Rynolds as Nick is bemused throughout after his death and plays it straight.

Opening with an unnecessary flash forward and voice-over from Nick what follows is a fast paced predicable yet enjoyable setup as the Dedos must retrieve a load of gold to create a portal for the dead to return to Earth. Most of the fun comes from what the living people see when they look at Rynolds and Bridges as an old Asian man and a female model. There are some good one liners, the gross out effects are as outlandish as the script by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi and David Dobkin. Director Robert Schwentke delivers some good action setups and the pace is fast enough for it never to get bogged down.

If you though Jonah Hex (2010) was scrutinised with mass hysteria you should enjoy this comic adaptation for what it is. There’s nothing to dislike in R.I.P.D with its special effects and good cast it’s just a pity it falls short due to a derivative idea and story. Nevertheless, Men in Black fans will possibly enjoy it far more than others.

R.I.P.D. On IMDB

After an accident in which their father dies two young girls become feral, when they are rescued they are looked after by their uncle and his girlfriend, soon it becomes apparent that their survival was due to a spirit who won’t let them go and the terror begins.Thankfully the child actors are impressive, actor Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau is excellent in the dual role of the uncle and his twin although his screen time is sporadic. Lead roles include an almost unrecognisable Jessica Chastain as Annabel along with Daniel Kash as the doctor. There’s also a strong supporting cast of worn faces, for a horror film the acting is far above average.

As supernatural thriller the first half is finely crafted by director Andrés Muschietti and packed with tension and chills. The sound design and music by Fernando Velázquez complement the scares and eeriness. However, the second half chooses to reveal the ghost too often and steals the fright factor of what Muschietti had created earlier, especially in the closing.

What starts as an intriguing mystery with genuine creepiness unravels becoming a special effects fest by the end (more finely tuned but reminiscent of The Nun (2005) effects). Mama is a solid ghost story with an interesting premise that revolves around the two girls and the back story of Mama. There’s a cabin in the wood, a large house with a disgruntled spirit, creepy kids, the clichés are there but they are delivered efficiently. Nevertheless, Andrés & Barbara Muschietti’s story leaves a few niggling questions unanswered, not around the antagonistic ‘Mama’ but some of the other characters.

Overall Mama is special effects laden which is a shame considering the added intricacies and strong retelling of a classic-esque ghost story. Still it’s a strong well made addition to the genre.

Mama on IMDB

20120115-004600.jpgTwo employees try to unravel the The Yankee Pedlar Inn’s haunted past but they begin to witness disturbing events.

Opening with an assortment of spooky photo’s accompanied by a creepy score from Jeff Grace, director Ti West sets the atmosphere for The Innkeepers from the get go. Anyone familiar with West’s smouldering and finely filmed House of the Devil will know he likes to take time to build up the characters with a final pay off. Innkeepers is no exception. That said, it is pacer than the aforementioned with a few cheap scares up front courteous of a PC YouTube like video.

The acting is first rate, very naturalist with lead Sara Paxton on form as intelligent dropout Claire. Paxton is very watchable delivering a good performance thanks to an equally good script. There’s logic in the screenplay as far as if you were in a hotel and interested in the paranormal you’d do the same – set up an investigation.

There is a small cast of quirky characters including 80’s star Kelly Mcgillis who seems to be having a revival now in horror after featuring in Stake Land. There’s a psychic, an odd old man, obligatory ghost bride and cellar. There’s ominous corridors, creaky doors, piano cues and great sound design which add to its creep factor. There’s plenty of jump scares and red-herrings.

E.V.Ps, web cams in amongst the realistic sets gives credibly and suck you into Claire’s and Luke’s (Pat Healy) investigation plight. It’s an old-school horror with the music and sound playing a big part, much of the suspense comes from what you don’t see. But West’s visuals of what you do see are extremely haunting. It’s a homage of sorts that refreshingly leaves you with some unanswered questions and loose ends.

Debatably you can argue it builds to little more than a series of scares, yet, it’s more consistent and less glossy than recent horror Insidious, furthermore grounded than 1408 and far-more finely executed with its wonderful sets, camera work and narrative than the Paranormal Activities.

Yes – it’s a essentially a haunted house flick, but what a chilling, hair raising and perfectly constructed haunted inn film it is.