11 October 2013

An American Ghost Story 2012 - REVIEW

Ghost stories are all the rage these days, or so it seems. I'm not a big fan of the paranormal films because I think they're way over done. Trying to improve on this particular sub-genre seems a bit futile  since there's not really much you can do with one that hasn't already been done a dozen times before. However that doesn't mean that it can't be done. Paranormal Activity blew audiences away when it came out in 2007 but then of course they made one after the other after the other until lo and behold, there were four.... *facepalm*.... and the series thankfully seemed to just fizzle out.

Paul Anderson (Stephen Twardokus) is a struggling, unemployed writer who, along with his girlfriend Stella (Liesel Kopp), decides to move into a reportedly haunted house. The cause of the haunting is a multiple murder/suicide that occurred years earlier. Paul is hoping that being in the house will help jump start his creativity and even has Stella decorate most of the house to look the way it did during the time of the murders. When things finally start happening, Stella gets too freaked out to stay and ends up leaving Paul all alone to deal with what's to come. Eventually he's right in the middle of the kind of haunting he (literally) asked for. And he quickly realizes some things are better left alone. 

When you have a film that the majority of it was shot in one place and a relatively small cast (two main characters), it's important to have characters that are engaging and believable. It's also a must to have a cast that can basically carry the weight of the entire film. Twardokus and Kopp turn in great performances. They come off as likable and interesting. I was particularly happy with Paul's transition though out the film and the way Twardokus was able to pull that off. Wendy Haines also shows off her talents as an actress. Her portrayal of the "Crazy Ralph" character was pretty brilliant in my opinion and definitely deserves some recognition. 

Aside from some noteworthy acting, the film also had some pretty genuine scares. Director Derek Cole (who also directed The Mutilation Man) does a phenomenal job at ramping up the tension of the film at a pace that keeps you interested. Each scene your given more and more of the story and as it ramps up, you will most likely find yourself yelling at the TV from between your fingers (Not that I did that or anything). So many films these days rely so heavily on jump scares that it's hard to find one that frightens you purely out of the suspense and tension it creates and An American Ghost Story does that. It's one of the best and most effective ghost stories I've seen in a while. It will creep you out and have you double checking your bed before you get in it at night. You'll also never look at your bed sheets the same way again. No doubt, if you're a fan of the paranormal, this is a film you will enjoy. 

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that someone else appreciated the scares in this film. Simple, drawn out, and highly effective.