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Case Number 26712: Small Claims Court

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Ghost Team One (Blu-ray)

Paramount // 2013 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // December 20th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Gordon Sullivan always gets haunted by second-string specters.

The Charge

Arouse the dead.

The Case

One of the unsung aspects of many found-footage style film is the fact that they're often created without much of a script. Actors are given a situation and the cameras roll, capturing the performance in the moment. In the best of these situations, like The Blair Witch Project, the creators can orchestrate spooky things and let the actors go. In the case of a film like Ghost Team One, a spoof of the genre, the same rules apply, but this time the actors are improvising to be funny rather than freaked. Though the actors do a fine enough job, the overall structure of Ghost Team One makes it a forgettable entry in the parody genre.

Brad and Sergio are roommates who think their house is haunted. They enlist the help of Fernanda (Fernanda Romero, RPM Miami), a sexy ghost hunter, but they get sidetrack by sexual competition and the weirdness of the ghost in their house.

Ghost Team One plays the game of "How low can you go?" pretty much from the beginning. For reasons that are beyond me, the Paranormal Activity films revived the found-footage genre and made them profitable again after the glut of Blair Witch rip-offs. That means it's time to revive the parody versions of the found-footage genre as well. Whether you love or hate found-footage films, the parodies of them are almost exclusively lacking in intelligence and humor. We usually get the worst elements of the genre amplified in obvious ways…Oh, Blair Witch had a shot up a woman's nose, so let's put a bunch of snot in a similar shot, that'll be funny.

Ghost Team One is guilty of the same crimes, but to the list we can also add some serious racial insensitivity. In one scene, a white dude gets possessed by the ghost of an Asian prostitute (an underage prostitute at that, because that's how non-Americans roll, apparently). I guess it's okay to have a cross-racial possession, but things get dicey when the white dude suddenly has on a kimono and holds a fan in front of his face, a face that also has white paint on it. It's totally racist, but since it's played for laughs, it's supposed to be okay. If that wasn't bad enough, all Asian people get collapsed into one, as the man then gets up to make pho, which is not at all from the same culture that inspired the geisha-style look. I guess since the three leads aren't white, it's supposed to be okay?

That's only the most egregious of the film's errors. The rest of it is unfunny attempts to parody the tried-and-true genre conventions of the haunted-house/found-footage genre. The two guys try to one-up each other, Fernanda gets to be a bit brainless, and it's all supposed to be good fun. Except we've seen it before, and seen it done better.

At least Ghost Team One (Blu-ray) release is decent. The 1.78:1/1080p AVC-encoded transfer does a fine job with the material. Obviously shot on HD video, the source is in fine condition. Detail is limited by the format, which means we get some pleasing textures here and there. Colors are decently saturated, if a bit under-lit at times. Black levels stay pretty consistent and deep throughout, with no noise or other digital problems. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track is similarly competent. We get dialogue clean and clear from the front, with the surrounds getting used mainly for atmosphere during the "spooky" scenes.
Extras are pretty extensive for an indie flick of this type. We get a set of deleted/extended scenes, a video diary, a set of bloopers, and a behind-the-scenes featurette. It's not the biggest special edition, but it gives fans of the movie more of it, while giving a pretty good idea what it must have been like on set. An Ultraviolet Digital Copy is also included.

The film's not all bad. The interaction between Brad and Sergio as they attempt to woo Fernanda is actually amusing at times. They're obviously friends, and they're obviously both into her, so as they butt heads over it while also dealing with a haunted house it can be funny at times. If the film had focused on this relationship, making it the central plot point rather than trying to make fun of haunted house films, then Ghost Team One might have succeeded.

I guess there's a market for films making fun of ubiquitous movie trends. Ghost Team One tries to sex up the found-footage genre by throwing in some crude attempts at innuendo, but the lack of new laughs and the excessive racism will likely turn most viewers off. Those looking for a very immature take on the genre might find a few chuckles here and there, but even with the strength of this Blu-ray release, I can only recommend a rental for the very tolerant.

The Verdict

Guilty of being a bit too on-the-nose.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 78

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
• English
• English (SDH)
• French
• Portuguese
• Spanish
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Blu-ray
• Comedy
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Video Diary
• Featurette
• Bloopers
• Digital Copy
• Ultraviolet Download


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