Sunday, September 6, 2009

Film Review: "Death of a Ghost Hunter"

Add "Death of a Ghost Hunter" to your list of required viewing this Halloween if you enjoy a good ghost story. This little film had slipped under the film world's collective radar, but is now beginning to enjoy quite the sleeper hit following. Building off the popularity of ghost hunting reality TV shows such as "Ghost Hunters" of the last several years, "Death of a Ghost Hunter"is a very well put together, albeit low budget, film.

Carter Simms (played by Patti Tindall,) a renowned ghost hunter, if offered money to investigate a home in which a family was murdered nearly twenty years before, along with a provided technician, journalist and member of the church where the quite religious deceased family attended. Carter is the only professional hunter in the group, which provides, while she is explaining her craft to these other characters, for a rather interesting and sensible explanation into the science of ghost hunting. What ensues in this film under the guise of a documentary (in the tradition of "The Blair Witch Project") is an often delightfully wicked, subtle and sometimes not so subtle exploration of this allegedly haunted house.

Mike Marsh and Sean Tretta's script is literate, funny, disturbing, tight and full of possibilities; a rarity in much of today's horror film. The opening scene is jarring and disturbing, featuring glimpses of the family's murder. In an abrupt change in tone that actually works, we are soon taken into Carter and her crew setting up their ghost hunting shop at the house. From then on the viewer is in for an intriguingly original take on the ghost story. The film walks-- and rarely stumbles--along the fine line between subtle and gory horror, though whne the filom does divert into overt gore, the narrative never rests there long, as the film is fully aware that its power to frighten lies more in the possibilities surrounding the story.

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