What am I supposed to feel guilty about here? I feel guilty about movies I like because I became a fan of them when I was young and now realize they’re totally offensive in some way. I’m not going to share what any of those are, especially given my huge rant on feminism yesterday. I feel guilty that some weird-ass people I knew briefly two years ago left their entire (probably stolen) two-folder DVD collection here at my house, so that I now own every crap mediocre popcorn movie made in the ’00s as well as several seasons of Smallville. So basically, I feel guilty about other people’s bad taste? I don’t know where I’m going with this.
I do know that the world needs less guilt, more regional horror movies and more people promoting them. Today, I’m promoting GhostWatcher. Laura (Jillian Byrnes) suffers from agoraphobia, but is lucky enough to have a friend who brings her supplies and a job that lets her telecommute. Problem is, the apartment she’s afraid to leave has a goddamn shit sucking ghost. She turns to the internet where she meets Elizabeth (Jennifer Servary), a good little capitalist who, among her other interesting business ventures, sets up paranormal surveillance systems to help people bust ghosts; ironically, however, Elizabeth doesn’t really believe in ghosts. That is, until the day she and Laura’s best friend, Nikki (Marianne Hayden), visit the grave of a nasty serial killer and his body gets up and walks around. Eventually, Elizabeth has to force Laura out of her cocoon in order to solve the problem, and they both undergo some major transformations. Who is the ghost in Laura’s apartment? What is Nikki not telling Elizabeth? How do you hide from a stalker who is undeterred by a locked door? Will there be a sequel?
In answer to the last question, yes, and although people seem to think GhostWatcher 2 was technically superior, I prefer the feeling that went into making the original. The ghost is as creepy in death as he seems to have been in life, and Ms. Byrnes is a good enough actress to make me feel her isolation and despair. Ms. Servary is believable in her transition from opportunist to friend. And Ms. Hayden has good comic timing and does a great possession and aftermath freakout. Kevin Quinn as the ghost is understated but gives me the heebie jeebies. I love the nod to Twin Peaks, intentional or not, that gives us a main character named Laura and the ghost of a killer who desires to possess her.
Writer/Director David A. Cross does well with his effects for any budget and tells a classic, chilling ghost story; however, I think the theme of isolation, even with all the technology that is supposed to bring us closer, is the real disturbance here. It’s a film subject that I’ve noticed an increase in over the last ten years. Unfortunately, I think that the more we find conveniences that keep other people at a distance, isolation is a theme we will continue to see in film. The more you avoid contact with humanity, the more annoying people seem when you do have to venture out. Do you really want people to get more annoying? Like, is that even possible? I don’t want to find out.