Echo Bridge Home Entertainment // 2010 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // October 1st, 2010
...or do they?
In this surprising little chiller, we find Brett Wilson (Phillip Roebuck, $6 Man), the host of a television ghost hunting program, has just quit the show after his wife dies in childbirth. He reconsiders, however, when he gets a call from some weirdo who claims Brett's wife contacted him with the answers to all of Brett's questions. So, he gathers his group of sleuths one last time, and along with a skeptical journalist, they enter the spooky old mansion. While they're ready to tackle the answers they seek, they're quite unprepared for the things they will see.
Get ready, Washington Redskins fans, because your beloved tight end has been busy during the offseason. Credited as executive producer and appearing in a cameo is none other than Chris Cooley, who has helped in the production of his very own movie. I don't know the extent to which he was involved in the film, but he's the main advertisement on the box. He shouldn't give up his NFL job for an acting career, but he isn't the worst actor/football player I've seen. Like the film as a whole, he acquits himself fairly well given the tools at hand.
Nothing about Ghosts Don't Exist is spectacular, but director Eric Espejo has some good ideas to offer. His sense of how to blur the line between what's real and what's in the characters' heads helps to keep things interesting. He leads us to wonder which it is, or if it's both, without giving a definitive answer. This is certainly a cheap movie, but the meager budget has been put to fairly good use. Espejo eschews blood for camera tricks and does a good job of building suspense when nothing is there. There's not a lot new or surprising about the film, but it's a tense little number with, thankfully, a little humor thrown in. It's by no means a horror-comedy, but the little jokes work, particularly one involving a bottle of ketchup that got me laughing pretty good.
The performances, for the most part, are not very good, but the characters are realistic and interesting enough that, with the decent story and fair level of suspense, that little amateurish tidbit isn't so distracting. Brett is a good lead character, with enough secrets to keep little reveals coming at a steady pace. The other characters take decidedly secondary roles, but they are all acceptable, and only occasionally annoying.
Ghosts Don't Exist has been given a reasonable DVD release from Echo Bridge, but there's not a lot to write home about. The anamorphic image doesn't look great, but there aren't a lot of errors. The black levels are a little murky, especially in the very dark cellar locations, and the colors are a little bit washed out. There are no transfer errors to speak of, however; it's a perfectly watchable image. The sound may merely be a stereo mix, but a full palette of sound effects makes for a mix that fares much better than the image. There is effective separation throughout the film, but it never overpowers the dialog. There are no extras.
Ghosts Don't Exist certainly isn't essential viewing, but it's a fun little ghost story with a nicely ambiguous finish. It doesn't take itself very seriously, but remains a professional, if cheap, production, and I can happily give it a mild recommendation.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated