It’s days before Halloween and we of course celebrate that with a horror film review!
Imagine an event that was so traumatic in your childhood that it became an urban legend in and of itself. Imagine too, returning home after leaving for a while only to discover that those events in the past were part of a much darker and much more sinister conspiracy that even your own family could be involved in. In a nutshell that is the story Ghost in the Graveyard tries to tell but only manages to get lost along the way.
After witnessing the death of a playmate as a child, Sally Sullivan (Berglund) returns home only to discover that her childhood home is under the influence of a dark spirit that may be connected to the child she saw die years prior, or not…
Also starring Jake Busey, Olivia Larsen, Royce Johnson, Josh Carmody and Maria Olsen, in a tale of ghosts, biblical prophecies and a darkness that can not be contained. This is Ghost in the Graveyard.
From the start Ghost in the Graveyard comes across as a straight forward haunting story about a ghost who is seeking revenge. Through the course of the story, however, there is much more going on than just a simple angry spirit and that is where this film seems to lose itself. You see, making a complex film is not an easy task, look at the works of directors such as Stanley Kubrick or Christopher Nolan and you will see complexity done right. Each of their films start off simple but plant the seeds of what is to come early on giving both a rewarding journey and also making subsequent viewings more enjoyable over time.
In the case of Ghost in the Graveyard the story seems to be too much for the single movie to handle as it attempts to create a complex narrative without fully planting the necessary seeds at the start. This unfortunately causes the film to feel as if it takes an abrupt left turn late in the film serving only to make this very well made effort into a rather confusing narrative. Even subsequent viewings do not make the abrupt turn easier to swallow making this one a rather disappointing film despite the incredible effort put behind it.
But I thought you just said this was a bad movie?! No, not at all. In fact, it has all of the makings of a terrific film. From a rather excellent score by Assaf Rinde to a fantastic cast. Comparetto manages to pull out a wonderful effort from his team showing that he really has what it takes to helm a film.
Lead Kelli Berglund is a completely believable high-school teen who comes across as both hurt and searching for something, giving her the typical angst that is immediately recognizable in anyone under the age of 20. Coupled with that she comes across as rather wise which is explained through the course of the film. While I have never seen her prior to this, her career shows that she is an up and coming actor who, if she keeps up at this pace, is sure to land a major film in no time at all.
When this film came to my attention, I was pleased to see that film regular Jake Busey was attached. It was really good seeing Busey in a more serious role and, while he wasn’t the main character, he did an incredible job when he was on screen. There was not a moment I did not buy him as the father figure to Berglund’s Sally and none of his other past roles seeped through. I love seeing Busey branching out and I really hope that this, compiled with his time on Stranger Things, means we will get to see more of him in the future.
The other standout is that of Royce Johnson who you might recognize from the Netflix Marvel films. Royce has been making a name for himself as of late and at times comes across as a modern Denzel Washington. There are moments in this film that Johnsons portrayal of Sheriff D felt as if he could take on the role Denzel played in the film Fallen. Honestly, if they ever wanted to do a remake, we have our actor right here. This guy is good and I only wish he had more to do in the overall narrative.
Rounding out the primary cast is Olivia Larsen as Zoe. Olivia is rather new to film but makes her mark from the beginning as the perfect bully foil to Berglund’s Sally. I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of her in the coming years as she has a quality about her that really gives her a presence on the screen.
The Bottom Line
From the rather stunning shots, the fantastic score and even the excellent acting, Ghost in the Graveyard has all of the makings of a major horror release. Unfortunately the story never quite meshes together making this one a little disappointing overall. Overall, Ghost in the Graveyard is a visually appealing film with all of the makings of a great flick but misses the mark by trying too hard at being more that it was meant to be. Just goes to show you, Sometimes less is more.
All that aside, Even Kubrick and Nolan had a few missteps and, while this one is certainly not a perfect film, it really shows Comparetto’s talent as a director. Should he continue to refine his style, Charlie Comparetto could be someone to watch in the future. While he might not be great at story telling, Charlie has all the chops to become a phenomenal director.
While you can’t include this one in your Halloween lineup, you can catch it on November 5th from your favorite streaming service. (Amazon, Hoopla, Vimeo on Demand, FANDANGO)
Thanks for reading!
Late To The Game 10/28/2019
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