Originally shot and shown at festivals as Morris, Ghost Track opens with a bloodied young woman, Courtney (Natalie Biggs, The Borghilde Project, A Monster Called Charles) being chased through a scrap yard as windshields shatter, car alarms go off and she’s nearly crushed by a falling car before falling to her death from a bridge. It’s an attention grabbing opening, shot in the style of a 70s film where the presence of the supernatural was indicated with breaking glass and slamming doors rather than shown with CGI spectres.
When she was a child she and some friends, including Morris (Daniel Crowe) were playing near the tracks when he was hit by a train. The others ran, although I’m not sure what they could have done for him. Now, years later the friends, Courtney, Sarah (Kate Richmond-Ward, House of Afflictions, The Ashcroft Entity), her boyfriend Marcus (Adam Probets, Five Pillars, The Search Ends), Nathan (Darren Randall, Dark Vale, Tainted Blood), and Chris (James Barnes, Alien Uprising, Vengeance), are receiving death threats. Worse, the school bus with Nathan’s young son and several other children has vanished.
Writer/director Jason M.J. Brown (Dark Vale, A Date With Ghosts) positions Ghost Track somewhere between a ghost story and a slasher with warning notes and mysterious deaths. In one scene we even see what is presumably Morris’s ghost holding a large knife. Most of the time it seems obvious that this is the work of a ghost, but the script still tosses in the odd incident designed to raise doubts in the viewer’s mind.
Whether by choice or due to its low, 2,000 GBP, budget Ghost Track focuses more on its characters than on kills and effects. Morris is obviously an actor with some creepy makeup applied to him. It’s effective in the dark, but not so much when we see him in bright sunlight. The CGI for a scene where a character bleeds from their eyes is absolutely horrible, however.
The combination of Morris’s makeup and his victim’s bleeding from the eyes actually reminded me of the 1980 radioactive kids film The Children. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but there certainly are worse films to be reminded of.
What is probably the most effective moment in Ghost Track, the discovery of the missing school bus, actually works by not showing anything except the distraught Nathan. While I certainly wouldn’t have minded a reveal similar to the discovery of the bus in The Queen of Black Magic, this has a stronger impact and works better than the kind of effects the film’s budget could have delivered. Darren Randall, like most of the cast of unknowns are, for the most part, believable in their roles which goes a long way towards making this approach work.
Unfortunately, a last-minute twist manages to dull the impact of what went on up to that point. It’s an out of nowhere revelation that seems tacked on in order to get the film to feature length. It does however allow for a cameo by the closest thing Ghost Track has to a familiar face, Tamara Glynn from Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and Terrifier 2.
While it won’t satisfy the crowd that needs digital phantoms popping up every few minutes, Ghost Track should satisfy those who appreciate micro-budgeted horror and don’t mind the lack of effects. Others may find the lack of gore and jump scares, as well as the film’s overall shot on a cell phone look, to be a turn-off. I found it diverting enough, but I wouldn’t mind seeing what the director could do with a bit larger budget.
Ghost Track is available on Digital platforms from Wild Eye Releasing. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information. If you want more movies like this, FilmTagger can put you on the right track.