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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Danny Trejo and Charisma Carpenter
Signature Entertainment
RRP: £5.99
Certificate: 15
Available 21 January 2012

When a student of Halloman High shows a more than curious teacher a handful of gold pentagram coins which had belonged to his grandfather, a notorious practitioner of the dark arts, the teacher manages to steal one. However, the coin burns his hand and when he drops it to the floor it opens a portal to the dark spirit world. On a night when several teenagers are at the school to prepare for an exhibition, and three lads break in to hack the computer system, the student’s grandfather - a past headmaster of the school - comes through the portal and begins to torment and ultimately take the life essence from each of the teenagers with the unwitting aid of the janitor’s daughter. The janitor himself might well be their last salvation, but it doesn’t help when all of the students are afraid of him...

I must confess I was really looking forward to seeing this one. After the B-movie spider madness that was Arachnoquake, the similarly named Ghostquake looked to be a much more interesting option. As a lover of plot-driven supernatural horror, I was expecting malevolent spirits in the vein of the East Asian ghost stories of the nineties to be popping up all over the place. I think it’s the highly captivating cover which, let’s be brutally honest, has nothing whatsoever to do with the events in the movie.

Let’s begin with the characters. There’s an unlikely romance going on between the two central students, a fat kid who is a whizz on computers and knows about UFO conspiracies, a strict younger teacher and a dithering but kindly older one, a... well, you get the picture, I’m sure. Then there are the scares... er, none. It just isn’t scary in any shape, manner or form. The evil spirits come in the form of two apparitions: a sort of double-exposure series of appearances by the student’s grandfather, and the Janitor’s daughter with fang-filled wide mouth rushing at her victims with hands held high in the traditional ghost pose. This reminded me of the dark-clad old woman who roles menacingly through the room in the original black and white version of House on Haunted Hill.

The dialogue is for the most part corny and stilted, and the characters don’t even look convinced by their own predicaments or speeches. This is a disappointing film which falls a long way short of what it could have been had some real thought and direction been employed in the right areas. By the end of the movie I found I cared little or nothing about who had lived or died, as I hadn’t been subjected to any tension, anxiety or suspense. Do these people know what a horror film is? Okay, I’ve seen worse - a lot worse - but how deflating is it to expect something new and exciting, only to be presented with at best a below average example of the genre. I’m not sure whether the fact the disc contains no extras is a blessing or simply rubs salt into the wound.


Ty Power

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