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Case Number 16936

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Ghost Month

North American Motion Pictures // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 31st, 2009

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All Rise...

Every month is ghost month, in Judge David Johnson's house.

The Charge

You like jump scares? Here's the movie for you!

Opening Statement

What's a ghost month? Apparently, it's a Chinese time of year when mediocre ghost movies emerge.

Facts of the Case

When a young woman takes a job as a housekeeper in a Chinese household, she—wait for it—gets more than she expects. It's not long before she starts having frightening nightmares of freakish ghosts, monsters, and ghost monsters. Add to that, her mentally unstable, psychotically angry ex-boyfriend is looking for her and, if he finds out where's she's relocated, there's a good chance she'll end up dead. Between that and the onslaught of ghosts, her life kind of sucks balls.

The Evidence

This little shock feature started out promising. The atmosphere was suitably suspenseful and the first few batches of surprise ghost appearances actually turned out pretty well. Writer/director Danny Draven shows a nice touch in the beginning and generates some nifty jumps. But an over-reliance on technique ultimately keeps Ghost Month from ascending to the upper echelon of straight-to-DVD horror movies…provided such a mythical place actually exists.

There are just too many contrived jump scares and, like anything overexposed, the novelty quickly wears off. You know what's coming. Even when those bombastic DUHHHHHHHHHHHH-MMMMMM-DUHHHHH-DMMMMMMMM musical cues pop in, it's still not enough to get the hairs standing on the back of your neck. Gee, you think there's a chance a ghost is going to pop up in the reflection of that mirror?

Another genre cliché that's overused: the "it-was-all-just-a-nightmare." You know how it shakes out, our hero/heroine has a terrifying encounter with something otherworldly (probably sporting an ugly face) and then KA-POW! Turns out it was all a dream. This girl is dreaming so much so she would qualify for a UCLA sleep study. I would guess about 90% of the ghost scenes take place within the context of a dream scenario. That grows old fast.

Then again, maybe I've just watched so many of these jump-heavy ghost movies it takes something truly memorable to stick out among a crowded field of blah. Ghost Month has its moments. If you can't get enough of the J-horror flicks, it might contain a few more for you.

The DVD is okay, featuring a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo mix, topped with a nice selection of extras—cast commentary, director's interview, bloopers, photo gallery, and behind-the-scenes featurette.

Closing Statement

A handful of rewarding thrills can't compensate for an otherwise flat horror effort.

The Verdict

Guilty of overstaying its welcome.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 80
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 60
Judgment: 62

Perp Profile

Studio: North American Motion Pictures
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genre:
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurettes
• Image Gallery
• Bloopers

Accomplices

• IMDb








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