When writer/director Dillon Brown (The Devil’s Children, Tahoe Joe) approached me about reviewing his new film Ghost I was intrigued by more than just the plot. He said, “We basically make films with veterans or first responders as they use acting as a way to combat their own battles with PTSD.” That seemed like an interesting idea and a worthy cause. Granted it also came with the knowledge that Ghost was shot for about five thousand dollars so I knew this wasn’t going to be a paranormal Act of Valor and adjusted my expectations accordingly.
The film’s opening sequence is some extremely shaky POV footage of the man we will later learn is named Ghost (Michael Rock, Target List, Senior Cut Days) battling demonic creatures. The person filming this is Monk (Dillon Brown). We’ll shortly learn that he’s been assigned to record Ghost’s activities. Assigned by whom you ask? By the Catholic Church, who has hired Ghost to kill any man, woman, or child they consider a threat.
Meeting with Father Thomas (Regg Davidson, John Wynn’s One Hour, An Oscar Winning Movie) he’s given a video recorded by Jeremiah (Vernon Wells, Commando, Murder Syndicate) the father who abandoned him after he killed his demonicly possessed mother. His father also sent him an odd assortment of items including a sword. Father Thomas also tells him he’s been assigned a new partner, Eve (Amanda Morgan).
Their mission involves taking out Kosmos, a cult led by The Chosen One (Joshua Myron McKinney) who intends to place a Fallen Angel in a human host and bring on the End of Days. The human he plans to use is Ghost’s former partner Simeon (Toma Smith), which makes this mission personal.
For a film made on the equivalent of a maxed out credit card, Ghost holds up surprisingly well. Yes, it leans heavily on dialogue through the first hour but it keeps the conversations, or at times exposition, reasonably interesting. Brown also works in a few amusing meta moments involving his and Rock’s previous film Tahoe Joe. I also liked that Monk had taken a vow of silence and communicated via hand gestures.
The acting, while generally acceptable, is, as you might guess a bit stiff in places. None of the leads are bad, but there are moments where the performances seem a bit flat and monotone. It’s nothing that regular watchers of DIY films aren’t used to seeing though.
Ghost’s action and effects will also be familiar to no-budget film fans. There’s a lot of creeping around deserted buildings and shooting at people. The effects, including a few demons and some severed body parts, are well done for the money available.
What may be more divisive is the central idea of the Catholic Church, or any religious group for that matter, keeping everyone under surveillance and sending The Army of God, as Ghost and those like him are called, out to kill those it considers a danger. That really hasn’t worked out well at any point in history and I don’t see it starting to now. Smartly Brown makes it clear there’s no doubt these cultists need to be dealt with making it something of a moot point.
In the end, Ghost comes off a lot better than simply the result of “big kids having fun with a camera”. It’s a solid little film that should satisfy fans of no-budget filmmaking, the fact it’s helping some people out is an added bonus. I’m curious to go back and see the first film with these characters, The Flock.
Ghost will have its premiere July 1st in Reno Nevada, and will be available to stream via POV Horror on July 9th. You can check the Horror Nerd Facebook page for announcements of other platforms as they’re added. If you haven’t had enough of being haunted, FilmTagger can scare up a few more titles for you.