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Case Number 08214

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Ghost Watcher 2

Lionsgate // 2005 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 15th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is glad someone is watching those darned ghosts.

The Charge

But who watches the ghost watcher?

Opening Statement

The follow-up to Ghost Watcher brings back supernatural expert Laura Kove to investigate some bizarre goings-on with a young girl who hears voices. The ghosts appear to be out in full force again, and it looks like they'll need some serious watching.

Facts of the Case

Tracy Cain (Julia Pickens) is a mentally tortured young woman. Her duress started with a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her mother. Since then, she's been reclusive, stand-offish, and another synonym for those two words. Her father has tried in vain to reach out to her.

Now something new is tormenting Tracy. Strange, detached voices are invading her head and they're driving her batty. That mental anguish is soon bolstered by the death of her father, who got his life force siphoned out by a sinister figure.

Tracy is forced to live with her sister Melanie (Seregon O'dassey), whom she doesn't get along with, and to enlist the help of "Ghost Watcher" Laura Kove (Jillian Byrnes) to unravel the riddle.

But the truth will be even more terrifying than any of them are prepared for: the specter is after invulnerable ghost status and to pull it off, a lot of people are going to have to die and he's going to have to roll two double-zeroes.

The race is on to thwart these evil machinations.

The Evidence

I was pretty surprised with Ghost Watcher 2. While by no means a great film, it succeeds in crafting a coherent ghost story and spicing it up with some solid scares. I haven't seen the first Ghost Watcher so I won't be able to comment on the difference between the two. But having seen the sequel, I can say that if I were forced to watch the predecessor I may in fact not hate myself. Pretty high praise, huh?

Ghost Watcher 2 is one of those flicks that seems to have defied the odds. From the outset it appeared the forces of direct-to-DVD conventional wisdom were rallying against it; its budget is glaringly tiny, the visual effects are best left not talked about and it's a sequel to an obscure horror film. But writer/director David A. Cross, who helmed the first, has managed to create a decent little flick that can stand on its own (it made sense to me despite not having seen the first).

The story is pretty straight-forward ghost fare: there's an obnoxious spirit out there running around killing people and he's got a plan to become invincible. This enigmatic plan is hidden from us for most of the film, and Cross has paced it well so the payoff is satisfying—if not a bit convoluted. More credit is due to Cross for carrying out this climax, as it required a big dose of special effects; through some clever editing he was able to transform what could have been a cheesy CGI crapfest into a harrowing sequence.

Too bad the film runs out of gas for the final stretch. There's an obligatory showdown between our heroine and the big, bad ghost man, but the execution is ham-fisted and fraught with cheesy lines ("There's one thing you're not ready for." "What's that?" "Me!" Or something to that effect).

While not a particularly gory film, Ghost Watcher 2 does boast a decent amount of chills. Yes, they are of the cheap "jump scare" variety, but they work. It was more than once where Cross had me on edge with this flick. Overall, Ghost Watcher 2 is far from great, but it's a whole lot better than most other low-budget, DVD-rack genre wannabes.

The technical merits of this disc are, sadly but not surprisingly, the weakest part of the package. The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic letterbox is often very muddy and blurry. This negatively affected a few of the scare moments as I wasted time trying to pinpoint what exactly was that dark shape in the corner of the room. Oh, it's a ghost. And don't expect to be wowed by the 2.0 stereo mix.

Cast and crew interviews, a gag reel, and some trailers are it for extras.

Closing Statement

Ghost Watcher 2 is a perfectly adequate low budget ghost movie. The story is interesting, the performances are fine, and the direction is able. I don't know if I'd recommend you running to your local Blockbuster and scooping this off the shelves in a blur, but for fans of independent, grassroots horror filmmaking, it's worth a glimpse.

The Verdict

Not guilty. I see dead people.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Acting: 80
Story: 80
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genre:
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Cast and Crew Interviews
• Gag Reel
• Trailers

Accomplices

• IMDb








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