Review: GHOSTS OF DARKNESS (2017)
Somebody spending a night, or in this case three nights, in an allegedly haunted building in return for lots of money is an old, old plot. It goes from the silent era to the William Castle/Vincent Price classic House On Haunted Hill in the ’50s. And any number of Italian gothics such as Antonio Margheriti’s 1964 Castle Of Blood and his 1971 remake of it Web Of The Spider. In the modern era, we have 1408 and a host of found footage films. Now David Ryan Keith (The Dark Within, The Redwood Massacre) takes his shot with Ghosts Of Darkness.
After a bloody prologue that lets us know there definitely is something evil afoot, we meet our two leads. Scientific ghost hunter and notorious skeptic Jack Donovan (Michael Koltes, Capsule) and psychic Jonathan Blazer (Paul Flannery, The Dark Within). They are brought together by a mysterious gentleman (Steve Weston, The Veteran). He offers them $50,000 each to stay three nights in the house. He wants them to debunk the rumours that are keeping the lavish house from selling. It doesn’t take long until even Jack realizes there really is something supernatural responsible for the house’s bloody history. And there may even be a personal connection to the pair.
What really makes Ghosts Of Darkness work is the wonderfully funny interplay between the two leads before, (and to a much-reduced degree after), things get serious. Having seen and laughed my way through writer/director Keith’s first film Attack Of The Herbals, (best described as a Scottish set Shaun Of The Dead) and knowing his second film is a more serious slasher effort, I wasn’t sure which way he’d go here.
Ghosts Of Darkness is mostly serious but with plenty of appropriately placed humour. The uptight Jack is a great foil for Jonathan. Especially as Flannery, (a comedian and stage actor in his first film role), plays his character as though he’s playing Johnny Depp playing him. The result is wonderfully amusing, and I could deal with seeing him return in a sequel or two.
The effects are a mix of practical makeup and CGI. The CGI effects are deliberately kept vague and blurry, which helps keep their low budget origins from being noticeable. It also gives some of them an even creepier appearance. Like those things that haunt the edge of your nightmares, fuzzy and indistinct when you wake up. The practical effects are on point and sufficiently bloody. The house has a deadly history, and we are treated to some of its highlights. Ghosts Of Darkness has enough blood here to keep the fans happy.
An effectively scary film that never takes itself too seriously, Ghosts Of Darkness is available on DVD and multiple streaming platforms.