Friday, August 18, 2017

Ghost House Cast Characters Out of Eden and into A Fiery Hell: A Film Review

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by the film's publicity arm.

Tagline: "She Will Never Let You Go."

Director: Rich Ragsdale.

Writers: Kevin O'Sullivan, Jason Chase Tyrrell, Rich Ragsdale, Kevin Ragsdale.

Cast: Scout Taylor-Compton, James Landry Hébert and Mark Boone Junior.

Ghost House is a film from Thailand. Developed by director Rich Ragsdale and a group of writers, this indie horror film tackles the myth of the spirit house. Two travellers don't heed the local warnings. Then, a ghost haunts Jim (James Landry Hébert) and Julie (Scout Taylor-Compton), through most of the film. The film looks great. The filmmakers have really utilized the Thai settings and they are affective. There are other great visuals, though. The fiery ghost-witch also looks spectacular onscreen. Often associated with fire, this villain lights up the screen. Also, this viewer wondered if an older Christian myth, involving Adam and Eve, influenced the story. There is this overlap between East and Western mythologies. And, Ghost House will haunt most indie horror fans.

The film begins with little backstory. Instead, the focus is on Jim, Julie and their holidays. They are travelling through Thailand. Jim proposes to Julie. Then, Jim is out on his bachelor party, with a couple of suspicious Brits'. The Brits' take the duo to a remote ghost house graveyard and encourage Julie to pick up a small totem. This totem is tied in with a vengeful and spiteful spirit. Now much later, Julie is now cursed and Jim is tasked with freeing her. He only has three days, or Julie will die. So, he will have to team up with a few of the locals, including the seedy Reno (Mark Boone Junior). Jim must do whatever it takes to free Julie, or the wedding will put on hold, indefinitely.

One of this viewer's favourite elements, from the film, is the setting and cinematography. This long time horror film fan has vague plans to visit South-east Asia. And, cinematographer Pierluigi Malavasi captures much of the natural magic of Thailand. There are shots of the countryside and the river deltas. The urban concrete landscape of Bangkok is also captured. The film is visually stunning and the settings are constantly changing. The visual sphere is never boring and often compelling.

There was another visual element that this watcher enjoyed. The fiery elements stood out. The witch is often associated with fire. Her backstory involves a tale of revenge and the burning of a house; she was trapped in this house. Her face are scarred with burns. Whenever the witch is shown, fire is not far behind. Sets burn and so does the screen. The film is not special effects focused. However, these fiery scenes bring a lot of colour to the film.

This critic saw some parallels between the Adam and Eve myth and the story here. Most are familiar with Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Within Ghost House, Julie is warned not to touch the ghost houses, much like God warned Adam and Eve not to touch the fruit. But, she ignores this sage advice. Luckily, Jim is not influenced by Julie's mistake. Still, both characters are thrown out of the Eden of Bangkok. They are forced to explore the darker areas of the city and the surrounding areas, until Jim can save her. In the film, Robert (Russell Geoffrey Banks) is the snake, tempting Julie down a dark path. You should have heeded the warnings Julie.

Vertical Entertainment is releasing this supernatural thriller. The launch will be hosted on a simultaneous theatrical and Video-on-demand release. This viewer enjoyed the film. It does not even tire with a second viewing. Pyrotechnician Anthony Delzio had his hands full with this project. Something is always going up in flames, within Ghost House. Also, director Rich Ragsdale pulls double duty as composer. The music is often tense or sombre, depending on the tone of the film. There is a bit of an East meets West mythology here. Meanwhile, it is hard not to fall in love with Thailand. If Thailand looks this good in 2D, it must be infinitely better in 3D (reality). Fans of indie horror are encouraged to seek out the fiery good time that is Ghost House.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10.

A trailer for the film has been posted here, on 28DLA: A Ghost House Trailer

It Follows also hosts a similar curse:

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