Saturday, June 20, 2015

In short: Judas Ghost (2013)

Four professional ghost finders working for the excellently named Carnacki Institute – cocky bossman Jerry (Martin Delaney), medium Anna (Lucy Cudden), tech guy Ian (Alexander Perkins) and former ghost hunter turned post-traumatic event cameraman Mark (Simon Merrells) – are supposed to shoot a training video for the institute getting rid of a minor haunting in some village hall. Things may not be quite what they seem though, and the harmless haunting quickly turns out to be something much more dangerous. It is even possible that our intrepid protagonists have been purposefully lead into a trap by their own employers.

This cheap little number written by Simon R. Green (author of a few dozen or so pulpy novels that can be pretty fun when read in the right spirit and mood) and directed by Simon Pearce takes place in the universe of Green’s Ghost Finders novels (and various other series, because what genre writer can resist connecting everything with everything?). Budget-wise, this looks rather like a pretty cheap TV movie, with the single set, special effects of dubious quality just above backyard movie standard, basic direction and a script that isn’t one for subtlety or originality and contains about as many surprises as it contains new ideas (which is to say zero). In fact, you could sell me on this being a pilot made on spec for a TV series nobody wanted to pick up.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with Judas Ghost. What it lacks in intelligence or originality, it – rather typical of what I’ve read of Green’s books – makes up for with a nice sense of pacing that would probably reach break-neck speed if the production could only afford that sort of thing. And while all the paths here are well-trodden, the film presents even the most silly and generic bit of haunting business with enthusiasm and conviction, enough so that it becomes rather fun to watch on a very basic level. So, for the sort of very minor horror movie fodder it is, Judas Ghost is actually quite entertaining - not the sort of thing I’d ever recommend anyone but the completist to actually seek out, but certainly a film one can have seventy minutes of mild fun with if one stumbles upon it.

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