I was intrigued by the setting and concept, a neighbourhood haunted by the ghosts of old western stars. I could have forgiven low budget fx, unknown performers, cheesy music. But this is amateurish, self-indulgent tedium at its worst. I rented it, and it was a waste of £2 and 60 minutes (would have been longer, but I got so bored I fast-forwarded to see if it ever got anywhere close to interesting. It didn't).
on 12 January 2010
Ultra-low budget spooky story from the man who made "The Last Broadcast", the movie that wags who desperately wanted to be in the know used to insist "The Blair Witch Project" was plagiarised from. "The Ghosts of Edendale" racks up a fair few borrowings of its own (especially from "The Shining") and manages a couple of nice shivers before collapsing in on itself.
At first, the hard, shot-on-video quality of the image works well in capturing the stark feel of the always-sunny Hollywood hills, to which any number of aspiring writer/director/whatevers gravitate in desperate hope of getting into The Industry. Video lends a cold, unblinking look to things and has been used to good, creepy effect before (think of "The Stone Tape" or "Sapphire and Steel", for example) and works best here when creating the feeling of inescapable dread experienced by the girfriend of a newbie screenwriter who's suddenly and mysteriously a success (and no longer quite himself) by virtue of becoming One Of Us in the local community of fellow aspirants.
There's a cool idea behind the mystery of what's going on, but the movie doesn't quite have the chops to bring it off. Bargain basement CGI is (over)used to make The Ghosts of Edendale visible to us, but all the effects manage to do is destroy whatever atmosphere the piece has managed to create. The strong performance of lead actress Paula Ficaro holds things together up to a point too, despite the character being written as the usual "woman with a history of seeing things who's seeing them again, or is she?" But if you want a story about the madness that infests the sick ground of Hollyowood, I'd suggest renting "Mulholland Drive" instead.
The Last Broadast was a very effective 'found footage' creeper.
For some reason, a few years later the film maker was reduced to this, an intriguing idea produced apparently on a laptop with, it seems, virtually no budget beyond the software.
It makes full use of some horror film cliches but suffers especially in the acting stakes - ranking between functional and speaking-clock robotic - and from the poor use of sound. There are loud bits and bits which are unintelligible dialogue. You'll need to keep your finger on the volume button.
The CGI is probably overused but somehow its low-budgetness does work quite well, in contrast to many a more expensive movie.
The pace is slow and the music lacking impact, sounding particularly cheesy and ineffectual. It seems to be harking after the original Carnival of Souls, which had similarly bad acting but managed to be more unsettling and thought provoking.
In conclusion, I'm glad I saw it - the cover image was eye-catching, and is one of the best things about the movie - but I would only buy it with someone else's money.