Ghost House (2017)

August 16, 2017 - 3:25am | Meredith Brown

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Rich Ragsdale
James Landry H├ębert, Scout Taylor Compton, Mark Boone Junior, Michael S. New, Russell Geoffrey Banks, Rich Lee Gray

Supernatural themes are a huge subgenre of horror films. Although not my first pick of choice, I do often enjoy a good haunt. Thus is the case with Ghost House, a first feature from the Ragsdale Brothers. Rich and Kevin (Ragsdale) have created an unsettling and twisted story about a scorned woman who unleashes her wrath upon young ladies who tamper with her “ghost house” – the shrine left behind to keep her at bay.

As legend has it, you are to worship the spirits through offerings to symbolize your faith and respect in the Thai villages that house them. The most evil spirit lurks in a remote countryside, where the ghost house graveyard resides. American couple Julie (Compton) and Jim (Hébert) are vacationing in Thailand when they stumble upon one in a local shop. Mesmerized by the tale, Julie’s interest peaks and she is taken in by the folklore that leads her deep into the woods with 2 British strangers (Banks and Gray). And within moments, Julie is the victim of the scorned ghoul’s spirit trying to eat her soul.

Scout Taylor Compton, scream queen from Zombie’s Halloween remake, shines as the tormented and visibly pained Julie. Inquisitive, trusting and sympathetic, Julie tries to ward off this crazed ghost with all her might, but to no avail. Reminding me of Drag Me to Hell’s Allison Lohman, Compton completes her transformative fear with surrender. Her new fiancé, Jim, is an average, skeptical millennial who obviously knows best and has trouble expressing a convincing concern for his love. Especially when he is so easily influenced by Robert (Banks) to jump into a local strip club and take advantage of the entertainment.

Russell Banks is a star, commanding the audience’s attention into his secret sinister plot (no spoilers here!) He is charming, playful and ominous. In effect, he pulls the story together into what will become Julie’s impending demise, but with better intention that predicted. In similar form to The Ring or The Grudge, there are jump scares behind every door, every window…and when you least expect it. The wretched, decomposing sounds of the villainous apparition is like nails on a chalkboard, but the effects are SO incredible you will keep poking your head over the blanket to see what happens next. She is one creepy looking bitch!

Ragsdale pulls from great influences such as his Lynch-esque scene that follows Jim through a seedy underground club to meet the infamous Reno, a bloated and condescending Mark Boone Junior who continues to perform with flair as he proposes alternatives to Julie’s predicament. Alongside cab-driver and sidekick “Gogo” (think Indiana Jones’ Short Round as an adult), Michael S. New gives us insight into the mysterious Ghost House traditions that will likely consume Julie’s soul in a matter of days. The race against the clock begins and it’s a jaunt you’ll want to watch!

In true haunted fashion, Ghost House will make you jump. Although not your everyday “ghost”, this is a similar premise to It Follows (which I DESPISED), but more structured into the simple lesson “You steal, you pay.” Trusting complete strangers abroad is probably NOT the best way to travel, so think twice when partying with good-looking Englishmen. Nonetheless, if supernatural stories freak you out, then pay attention to Ghost House – especially the effects!

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Meredith Brown's picture
Meredith Brown




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