Many years ago, in this mythical place known as high school, I developed an unflinching love of photography. Not only the freedom that came with walking around like an a-hole and sticking my camera wherever I felt like it (at 16, this felt like immense power and privilege), but I was enamored with the process of composing a shot. The idea in that a single frame anything was possible continues to consume my imagination to this day.
So much so...it's almost scary.
Also borderline frightening, was the feature film my wife and I caught at last weekend's HHFF, Kevin Alexander Boon's Ghosting. Filmed over 18 days with essentially no budget, Boon's film is a throwback to old-school horror (with some elements of a typical episode of Scooby-Doo). There's a spooky bad guy, naturally, but that sumbitch ain't coming out till the very end.
Matt (an effective and intermittently sweaty Michael Mowen) is a college student, simply trying to hold it together. School's okay, but his home life is f--ked. His dad is a drunken asshole, and his mom is becoming increasingly adrift in the throes of schizophrenia. Late for class, Matt ain't (though it doesn't hurt that his best friend is a hot chick, I'm sure).
At night Matt works at a local picture printing place, and after bagging order after order, he discovers the same random guy is appearing in photos from people all over the country. Being that that's totally f--ked up, of course, he goes to his boss and says something to the effect of, you see this creepy shit? To which his boss, a kind of creepy guy himself says, the f--k you talking about, son? Yep. Matt's seeing shit that ain't there.
While that might be an intriguing enough setup, it turns out that Matt isn't the only one who can see the man in the brown hat, lucky for him (and us), so can the super-hot Lindsay (played by the lovely [in person-rowr] Bex Etter), his etherial lab partner. Thing is, as these things always go, ol' Linds doesn't want anything to do with any paranormal activity. Not that you could blame her.
After a little prodding and convincing, these pesky kids jump into the Mystery Machine and head to ScaryTown, USA. Our terrific trio (Matt, Lindsay, and Matt's BFF Charlie (the fairly rad Elizabeth Wyld), after a very amusing heist scene, head to a town full of the most forthcoming people on the planet. Good thing, too. Because with any less action, I might have donned a brown hat and started stabbing people - just for something to do.
Also likely to get stabbed just because, are the Yays and Boos. I told them to play nice this time, as everyone involved (myself included, you know?) is doing what they do for the love, not the money.
- Being that we spend most of our time with Matt, I'd like to throw some love toward Michael Mowen. Not only was the performance solid, but he kind of looks like Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau put together, which is certainly a plus in my book.
- The scene where Matt asks his psychology professor How could a child tell? (in regards to having schizophrenia) was very well played.
- As I've said for years, if you need to know how to do anything, including break into a f--king place, you YouTube that shit. Charlie's with me.
- For a no-budget feature, there are some pretty cool effects here. Much of it has to do with the guy in the picture, but by the end, we get some decent gore as well.
- The music is really good. Loved that opening song.
- I pointed out Mowen already, but for a super small flick, I think Boon had an incredibly solid cast. All three leads were enjoyable to watch and totally convincing. Hell, I even liked Cat Lady.
- And finally, even though Ghosting is kind of light on action, I still gave a damn about these kids and what they were doing. Fine, maybe it was because they were actually in the room with me, but still. This is an effectively fun film.
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There's a term for this...I know it.
- Okay, Professor Guy, what's up with the outfit? Did you borrow that number from Prince?
- Matt's Dad is the worst. Why do movie drunks always have to throw their empties all over the damn place? I swear this is a rule or something.
- And while we're talking about Matt, er, sort of, dude...pick up the f--king pace! This guy needs a sense of urgency asap.
- When things take a turn at the end, there's some pretty silly stuff that happens. First, let me just say, that's the worst f--king burial I've ever seen (though it did make me laugh!).
- Second, you know that thing that a fleeing character sees that makes him or her turn around and go back? Here, it's so improbable I can only hope it was a joke.
- Third, Creepy House is filled with some creepy stuff. That's cool. But...can you explain why there's pictures of doors hanging around? Photos of dead girls? Awful. But photos of doorways? Much worse.
- And finally, even though I will go on the record saying that I totally enjoyed this movie, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it doesn't really make any f--king sense. If you sort of take a step back and look at all the ideas...I'm not sure any of them are related. At all. Though, it's all too likely, I just f--king missed it...which oddly enough, is also something to boo.
That's going to do it for Two Dollar Cinema's first ever film-festival coverage. I wish we could have seen another block, or perhaps had a chance to talk to the filmmakers (and um, actresses....ahem) of the movies we did see. Outside of a ticket stub and these posts, I really don't have anything else to document the event, unfortunately. An interview would have been just about perfect, you know?
Or even a photograph.
Assuming I could get everyone in the frame..