Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007)

September 15, 2009 - 4:34pm | EC
  Tags: Davina Joy, death of a ghost hunter, ghosts, haunting, Lindsay Page, low budget, Mike Marsh, Patti Tindall, Sean Tretta, William McMinn

Your rating: None Average: 5.5 (2 votes)
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Rating #: 
Sean Tretta
Davina Joy, Mike Marsh, William McMinn, Lindsay Page, Patti Tindall

After numerous attempts from my twelve year old neighbor to go XBox live, I finally gave in and cashed my free thirty day gold membership. With the automatic demo goodies, gems and overall obligatory death matches I found another rock solid reason to take the live XBox journey...Netflix. Streaming my instant watch queue to my theater room is almost a sexual experience, but beyond picking out my own flicks I do get introduced to a few newbies that never made it to my household before through Netflix's "New Arrivals" section. Wham, bam and think you ma'm...welcome to "Death Of A Ghost Hunter". I have never heard of this film before...shame on me...and I saw its cover on a 52" Netflix introduction and the reel started spinning.

This film won a few indie awards in 2007 and I've since read some positive feedback on Amazon, Netflix and a few competing horror sites. The movie is a bit of a mockumentary in a way, spinning a "true" yarn about a haunted home known as "The Mortenson House" and its family slaughter in 1982. Much like the "Blair Witch Project" the film follows a small group of investigators as they try to unveil the truth behind the haunting and overcome their own skepticism. While certainly the movie has some similarities with "Blair Witch" I also thought of other classics like "Poltergeist" and "The Amityville Horror".

The movie begins with the flashback sequence of 1982's night of mayhem, with gruesome and disturbing imagery of the Mortenson family being slaughtered and in turn the "eat a bullet" suicide of Mrs. Mortenson. From there we are introduced to the film's strongest and most intriguing character, Carter Simms, played wonderfully by Patti Tindall. Simms is a semi-famous ghost hunter who is trying to find real and convincing evidence of life after death. The film plays well to Simms strengths and weaknesses, showcasing her early skepticism and rigid underwriting of evidence to her ghostly attacks near film's end.

Simms uses the normal "Sci-Fi Channel" (or is it Syfy now?) ghost hunting techniques, with plenty of electronic, temperature and audio recording devices to unveil the baddies. Accompanying Simms on the ghost hunt is a video expert, reporter and the puzzling and mysterious church representative. All of the characters create a great on screen chemistry and really help outline the purpose of the investigation along with myths and truths behind scientific ghost hunting.

So this is a scary movie, right? Damn skippy this is a scary movie and SCARE it most certainly does. The first half-hour led up to some very intense and eerie scenes, with plenty of atmosphere and dim lighting (apparently a must in scientific ghost hunting) for effect. The apparent true nature of the haunting and the deaths of the Mortensons in such graphic detail early on really sets the viewer up on a terrifying journey through the house. In all honesty there were a few very creepy scenes and the first hour really was absolutely perfect.

So why the 6 rating? Well things really start to fall apart in the last half hour and other than the closing five minutes or so I found the movie just repeating some of the intro scenes. While director Sean Tretta did the haunted house theme so well for sixty minutes, the last half hour tries to be a slasher-ghost story and really turns into a mess both visually and logically. I was totally turned off by the film's direction near the end. The last five minutes had a terrific idea in place, it was just the twenty minutes leading up that really frustrated me.

This film may be as good or better than bigger Hollywood reels like "A Haunting In Connecticut" and Bay's remake of "The Amityville Horror". Unfortunately with such a tremendous start the film just commits to an early grave for this "Death Of A Ghost Hunter".

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