REVIEW: Ghosthunters (2016)

ghosthunters

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2016, The Asylum

Director:
Pearry Reginald Teo
Producer:
David Michael Latt
Writer:
Pearry Reginald Teo
Cinematography:
Spencer Hutchins
Editing:
Christopher Roth

Cast:
Francesca Santoro (Amy)
Stephen Manley (Henry)
David O’Donnell (Neal)
Liz Fenning (Jessica)
Web Crystal (Devon)
Phyllis Spielman (Martha)
Anna Harr (Gabby)
Kim Shannon (Sally)
Aaron Moses (Stanley)

From the producers behind the Sharknado saga comes this film whose name may seem to capitalize and has elements of a certain hit film that just got rebooted. However, there is more than expected in this very shocking horror film.

A serial killer known as the Night Stalker has killed many in his house of horrors. His last two victims were Martha and Gabby, the wife and daughter of paranormal expert Henry. At the funeral, Henry learns that the killer had died in a car crash and it is then when he convinces his friend and partner Neal that they have to go back to the house and see if they find the spirits of Martha and Gabby. At first unsure, Neal decides to go ahead and calls their partner Jessica. Jessica brings a protege, Devon, while Neal brings his reporter girlfriend, Amy, who wants to do a story on the paranormal.

The team has equipment that is able to track and capture the paranormal. As they search throughout the house, Devon begins to become worried. Neal is still unsure if it is still a good idea because he is worried about Henry, who begins to slowly become obsessed with getting the job done. As for Amy, as she continues with her story, she begins to experience strange visions, including the Night Stalker and his victims, all leading to Amy beginning to suspect that the ghost of the serial killer may be in the house to continue his sinister ways.

The Asylum may be best known these days as the producers of one of the greatest Syfy channel sagas today, the Sharknado films. However, they are also known for making lower-budgeted ripoffs of beloved Hollywood films and bring in twists that make it their own, such as I am Omega and Metal Shifters. For their latest offering, one can see Ghostbusters as the influence of this film and there are some references that would make this referential to the 1984 hit film whose reboot has just been released as of this review.

However, the major twist is that there is no comedy in this and the ghosts are not seen in the vein of the hit film. Instead, writer-director Pearry Reginald Teo wisely made this a straight up horror film that brings in not only references to Ghostbusters, but adds a taste of elements expected in films such as Saw and even a dose of perhaps Paranormal Activity and combines it quite smoothly in its 90-minute running time.

The performances for this brand of film are actually quite well done. Francesca Santoro does quite well as Amy, the reporter girlfriend of Neal who is there to do a story only to find herself slowly gaining a power she never imagined and not in a good way either. Stephen Manley is the polar opposite of Bill Murray in terms of characterization of a leader. Manley’s Henry truly has an obsession of finding the spirits of his family, who are seen in the opening of the film as the victims of the mysterious Night Stalker. David O’Donnell proves to be the strongest of the group in some ways as the level headed Neal, who despite being unsure, does his job to a tee. Liz Fenning’s Jessica is the brains of the group, using mathematics to determine the level of the spirits and determining what kind of spirits are in the house.

The film’s only small flaw is a retread of a montage featuring what may be Gabby getting killed and the Night Stalker, which is seen quite a few times in different spots. However, getting past that, the film smoothly transitions into a twist that is unexpected and shocking that it delves into insanity, ultimately making this one of the stronger titles from the Asylum.

Instead of seeing this as a ripoff, see Ghosthunters as seeing what would happen if Ghostbusters was a straight up horror tale set within a day in a house of horrors. The performances help drive the film as well as the shocking twist that leads into the finale of the film. Horror film fans may actually like this one.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

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