Director: David Toasty Asshat Cross

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

This low-budget independent horror film attempts to be more than a mere slasher, about a young woman named Laura (Jillian Byrnes) whose agoraphobia keeps her trapped in her apartment, assisted in her self-imposed captivity by a friend (Marianne Hayden) who shops for her & runs occasional errands.

Unfortunately the apartment is violently haunted but every attempt to flee her home causes panic attacks. So she does a web-search for help from a professional occultist & gets a woman who is a flimflam artist (Jennifer Servary) who never expected to encounter such a real haunting.

Such are the plot elements, & they might've added up to a good movie if the director & crew had been more imaginative in overcoming the budget limitations or if the performances had been worth a hill of beans.

The make-up design for the primary ghost was so amateur, it was like an ad hoc halloween costume. The digital video cinematography was grainy & inartistic & very poorly lit.

It isn't often that a horror film has three strong female characters, so I stuck the film out to the bitter end because I wanted to care about them. But the fact that they were such amateur actors made caring difficult, though one could see them valiantly striving to sell the script to the viewer & simply falling short.

Anyone who expects a horror film about a serial killer ghost to be graphic & violent as the premise indicates will be disappointed that this one is very tame in the gore department. I wouldn't ordinarily call that a fault, but to have neither gore nor an interesting story sort of leaves out everything.

I could imagine the screenwriter-director David A. Cross doing something fairly good someday, so I was glad to learn this one didn't destroy his chances of ever being funded for another try.

GhostWatcher 2GhostWatcher II (2005) unveils the further adventures of Laura Kove, the role reprised by Jillian Byrnes, who in an accompanying interview amidst the dvd extras was asked about the director's middle name -- her reply appears at the head of this page.

Laura has overcome her agoraphobia from the first film & now devotes her life to helping others who are haunted. She is called to investigate a family threatened by the demonic ghost of a killer (Vince Eustace).

Tracy (Julia Pickins) is a typically obnoxious teenager who on her very first day with a drivers' liscense struck down a man on the road then crashed into a light pole. She escaped from the car just before the light pole fell on her mother in the passenger seat. The man she hit staggered toward her with his big ol' kitchen knife ready, gives her a stab, then falls unconscious. They both die at the same moment in the hospital, but Tracy is revived, bringing the ghost of the devilish slasher with her.

Even if Tracy hadn't run him down, the killer had only a couple weeks to live as he was in the advance stages of cancer. He'd spent the last part of his life striving toward an occult means of curing his illness. Now his spirit is linked to the life of Tracy, so he has invested her with a remarkable healing capacity, since if she dies his ghost may not persist.

He also does what he can to manipulate her into a position where she (hence he) will be present at a pending catastrophe that will permit him to harvest energy from 200 people who will die at the same time, bringing him back to life.

The story could've been quite a good horror tale but the cinematography is so poor & the ghost make-up such a zombie cartoon (as shown in photo here), that the film is pretty much a failure. Mostly the support roles are deeply amateurish, though the two female leads are better than in most B-cheapies, & as with the first installment of the series, strong women dominate, & I appreciate that.

There's one successfully creepy "soul harvesting" sequence & there's a twist in the tail of the tale that ain't too bad, so I liked the film more than I didn't.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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