The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - GHOSTS OF DARKNESS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - GHOSTS OF DARKNESS

ghosts of darkness review
A medium and a skeptical myth-buster spend three nights in a haunted mansion.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: David Ryan Keith

Starring: Michael Koltes, Paul Flannery, Steve Weston, Lisa Livingstone, Lisa Cameron

ghosts of darkness poster

When the opening scene of a film is poorly acted, badly written, filmed without any apparent skill or flair for horror and all round just shoddy, you can literally feel your hopes deflating with every cringe worthy line of dialogue. Fortunately the rest of the film isn't as bad; unfortunately that’s not aiming very high.

The plot of Ghosts of Darkness concerns itself with two main characters – the doubting myth buster with a dark past, Jack Donavan, and the medium cum dandy Jonathan Blazer. Brought together under surreptitious circumstances, they are persuaded by a rich benefactor in the guise of an all-knowing butler, to spend three nights in the deadly mansion he owns.

ghosts of darkness

This mansion has been wracking up the death toll for some time now with a century of people killing both their families and themselves in unexplained and rather gruesome ways at an alarming frequency; this is Downton Abbey with a murderous agenda.

With their phones and all luggage removed, the pair of paranormal ‘investigators’ must put aside their differences and set out to discover the mystery of the house – could this actually be the real thing?

Directed and written by David Ryan Keith, this movie is a shambles. There are more plot issues than it's possible to name in this review but just starting with the fact that the ‘investigating’ these two do basically involves hanging out in a small section of the giant ‘haunted’ mansion and taunting each other before the secrets literally start looking for them. This says a lot about the lack of effort put into actually fleshing out a decent story. Basic story-telling tenets such as coherence and having characters behave in genuine ways rather than to just service the plot are not even entertained here. For instance, you’d think a professional ghost debunker such as Jack who is, in his words, “the best at what I do” would have a healthy dose of cynicism and investigate every possible angle to prove his theory that all ‘hauntings’ are explainable. He would at least look behind doors that opened themselves to check for strings, and believe the most plausible of explanations before even reaching for the ‘I think we are really being spooked here’ plotline, but no, our boy Jack sees a suspicious shadow behind his door (which he should naturally assume is Jonathan) and suddenly he’s a true believer!

ghosts of darkness

Jonathan, with his foppish nature and ill-defined ‘medium’ abilities, fares better in the character stakes but only due to the fact that he is an obvious caricature in the first place and so therefore just needs to be some light relief from the intensity of Jacks po-faced seriousness.

Paul Flannery as the affected but endearing Jonathan Blazer has a casual ease about him that makes his acting seem natural and believable to a degree; but Michael Koltes as Jack Donavan is truly quite bad with a phoned in performance as wooden as the floorboards. He seems incapable of expressing any real emotions and is the equivalent of watching an android simulate feelings. Not good.

ghosts of darkness

The CGI is pretty low quality and the final reveal of what the ‘ghosts’ are is fairly laughable. Only one scare here (the mirror), but it was a good one.

The best things about this film are the direction, cinematography and soundtrack. All three of these elements are actually exceptional. Filmed in Scotland, there is some beautiful scenery to capture before we get into the mansion, and the shots inside the house are sometimes nicely and unexpectedly framed. The director’s choices of film quality, framing and staging are good ones, and he is to be commended for that. The music would work in any big budget production and I hope this composer (Niall Mathewson) goes on to bigger and brighter things.

Unintentionally funny, this is a fun film to watch with a friend if you have a penchant for ‘so bad it's good’ movies. For anyone wanting a quality horror – stay clear.

Ghosts of Darkness is on VOD now.

2017 movie reviews