Friday, October 21, 2016

Don't Watch This Alone!: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY

Welcome to the another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, worst, and everything in between in the world of horror.  This week we review the 2012 ‘paranormal’ movie, AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY.

I’m not normally fond of films where either all or most of the footage is seen through someone filming it on their phone or camcorder. I usually find them annoying and distracting with all the jostling and shaky camera work that happens in them. Yet there are few I really like and one of them is a horror movie called An American Ghost Story (originally titled Revenant)
An American Ghost Story, which was written by Stephen Twardokus and directed by Derek Cole, centers around an unemployed writer named Paul Anderson (Stephen Twardokus) who gets this notion into his head that, in order to write a career making book, he needs to rent and live in a house that has long been thought to be haunted by dangerous spirits and in which years earlier, a former tenant had murdered his family with a shotgun and then killed himself.
Thinking that this will be a fun and exciting adventure, Paul invites his girlfriend Stella (Liesel Kopp) to move into the house with him and help document the paranormal activity he hopes to find in the house. Though skeptical of all that, Stella agrees. Everything seems kind of boring at first, then gradually more and more paranormal things begin to happen around them in the house; each event scarier than the last one. It’s more than Stella can take, but Paul stays alone in the house as he has become obsessed with finding out the truth and what really may have made the man kill his family.

An American Ghost Story was made on a shoestring budget of roughly $10,000 and by first-time filmmakers who used director Derek Cole’s real house as the setting for the ‘haunted’ one in order to have a believable set for the film. Sometimes it is obvious that An American Ghost Story was made on a limited budget. The story drags in places, but a lot of heart and soul was put into this movie, which makes it stand out in ways other movies of its kind do not. And when it comes to the scary parts, An American Ghost Story delivers with the best of them.  

What impressed me the most about An American Ghost Story is that it had scenes that really scared me, and I am talking ‘jump in my seat’ scared. Not too many movies know how to do that effectively and without getting gory with it. In An American Ghost Story the writer, director and visual effects people used the most basic and low tech concepts to create their paranormal and ghostly effects to give the audience some serious scares. Stephen Twardokus as an actor and writer, makes Paul a very believable character and his reactions to the things happening to him adds to creating the tension and making the audience scared too. I tell you, I watched this movie again with a friend and it still scared me even though I knew what was coming. Now that is a truly scary movie you don’t want to watch alone!

Marla’s Score: 8/10

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