Friday, October 11, 2013

Film Review: Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007)

Death of a Ghost Hunter (Review)
United States/2007
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes 
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"Fans of paranormal horror films, especially slow-burners, will find much to enjoy in its horror elements..."

Ghost hunter Carter Simms (Patti Tindall) is hired to investigate a haunting in the Masterson house -- the home of a family murder/suicide. Carter is joined by cameraman Colin Green (Mike Marsh), journalist Yvette Sandoval (Davina Joy), and the very religious Mary Young Mortenson (Lindsay Page).

Death of a Ghost Hunter continues with interesting, and even frightening, paranormal investigation. The home is mostly dimly-lit as the group creeps through the spooky home hoping to disprove the haunting. They generically bicker amongst each other as the religious character is, as expected, overly religious. Eventually, they find proof and decide to continue. The final act of the film fumbles with stupid character choices and a very rushed feeling -- the atmosphere and slow-burn the film built-up is sacrificed for generic scares and an obvious plot twist. The ending of the film also drags on and on.

Death of a Ghost Hunter has a solid story, at least for its first two acts. The story is complimented by the eerie atmosphere it builds, as well as the insightful paranormal investigation. The film builds some great tension as well, which makes for some solid jump scares. In fact, there are at least 2 very effective jump-scares. Also, there are some chilling, subtle visuals that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, the final act discards most of this for a lazy, generic ending -- and, even more disappointing, an unfrightening ending.

The biggest offense within Death of a Ghost Hunter is its mediocre acting. Patti Tindall is good during most of her scenes -- but much of her dialogue is based on narration, and it is bland and lifeless, boring and almost sleep-inducing. Mike Marsh was also mostly good, but his permanence fumbles at the end with forced delivery. Davina Joy was the worst offender with most cringe-worthy dialogue and delivery -- occasionally tolerable, but mostly robotic and forced. Lindsay Page was okay, her character and writing were the bigger offense. In general, the characters and dialogue are poorly written; the atmosphere, tension, and scares are great, but the essential story elements suffer.

Overall, Death of a Ghost Hunter is an okay horror film. Fans of paranormal horror films, especially slow-burners, will find much to enjoy in its horror elements; the bad acting, the cliché writing, and the terrible ending, however, hurt the film significantly, especially for general audiences. I recommend streaming or renting for fans of the genre.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, and nudity.

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