Ghost Month (2009)

Watching Ghost Month kind of feels like it takes that long.

The rather rote horror flick finds young Alyssa (Marina Resa, Roadside Massacre) fleeing an abusive boyfriend and finding work as a housekeeper in the desert home of one Miss Wu (Shirley To, Crank: High Voltage), a Chinese woman who lives with her elderly aunt. Little time passes before spooky things start happening around the place, and Miss Wu blames them on the spirit of her former maid.

In the same haunted-house realm of The Grudge, that angry specter keeps popping up, in several scenes with scares so telegraphed, William Castle would have superimposed a countdown clock in the corner. If one of the ghost’s forms looks like a science-class skeleton with a wig on its head, well, that’s because it is. The movie has an extremely low budget, some of it going toward some computer-animated effects that fall under “decent enough.”

Ghost Month’s story is too bare-bones, unenhanced by the Chinese “rules” Miss Wu relates (and from which the flick earns its love-it-or-hate-it title), but its chief problem is the all-around amateur acting, particularly by Resa, who resembles a poor man’s Jennifer Connelly both physically and in performance, making for a rather unappealing (and thus, unsympathetic) lead. If Connelly couldn’t keep us interested in Dark Water, how could Resa be expected to here?

One can admire writer/director Danny Draven’s persistence in even getting the film made, but not the end result. For proof that the man is capable of better work, plant your tongue firmly in cheek for the marginally better DeathBed or Reel Evil, his bid for a found-footage breakthrough. —Rod Lott

Get it at Amazon.

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