Ghost House Asian Horror Folklore Becomes A Stellar Visual Expression
Ghost House Film Details
Director: Rich Ragsdale
Kevin O’Sullivan (screenplay)
Jason Chase Tyrrell (screenplay)
Rich Ragsdale (story)
Kevin Ragsdale (story)
Jason Chase Tyrrell (writer)
Kevin O’Sullivan (writer)
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
Release Format: VOD
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Running Time: 1h 29min
A young couple go on an adventurous vacation to Thailand only to find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit after naively disrespecting a Ghost House.
From the outset, Rich Ragsdale builds atmosphere with a plethora of B-shots. By presenting the viewer with these images Ghost House succeeds on scares and suspense. These attributes transmit in part with camera angles and dare admitted…well-designed CGI.The opening scene set up a clever series of visuals that concentrate on the exotic scenery. This is essential not only for the narrative but also for the aesthetic of the theme. Supernatural themes are the majority in the Asian Horror marketplace. It was critical for Ragsdale to propose a tribute and readaptation to the concept.
Let’s take a moment to examine the cinematography and special effects features. Below are specific scenes that illustrate the points noted above
• Time stamp 01:00 to 02:24 – Inventive camera work including low shot and wide angles chronicle the unfolding spectacle. Two perspectives are unmistakable here. By establishing the camera at strategic positions Ragsdale emphasized the hunter/prey scenario. For example; from the “over the shoulder” shot viewers have a viewpoint from the enemy’s dominant position. The environment plays a key role both as a death trap and to conjure isolation. Yet, the manifesting apparition unfolds with seamless plausibility.
• Time stamp 06:46 -07:51 Ragsdale opts for nuances in conveying horror tones. The stage is set in the daytime which if performed incorrectly negates any grasp of terror. Here the viewer is given another impression on the narrative origin. Keep in mind Ragsdale makes honest attempts to communicate the cause of the supernatural component. Ragsdale uses the Dolly zoom effect to add a degree of suspense. This relaxes the viewer into a well-placed jump scare set-ups.
This critic finds jump scares to be nothing more than cheap tactics to incite reactions. Most Horror film makers decide to toss jump scares at wonton. This method weakens the proposed effect. Yet, in Ghost House, many of the jump scares blend well into the visual narration.
• Timestamp 19:57 to 22:51 – On cue, the final sequence to ACT I close with the external conflict established. This scene although revealing a daylight setting is colored in a nighttime hue. Much of the approach applied in the opening stage is also employed in this arrangement. The chain of events has, despite the repetition, a particular stylistic approach to convey Horror.
Scare factor becomes an essential agent in Ghost House. Some viewers may sneer at particular scenes and mock its unoriginality. Yet, Asian horror films are all constrained by the same visual conventions. With this assertion, Ragsdale does an exceptional job of upgrading the ideal approach. Take for example the following scene;
• Timestamp 45:45 to 51:13 Here the protagonist is tormented by another visitation from the rancorous apparition. The scene could have concluded with the abrupt reveal yet Ragsdale choose to pursue with an elaborate insistence on powerlessness and confusion. These visuals serve as analogies to the character’s emotional stasis. Care is taken into delivering key Horror scenes. Overdosing the audience with distressing circumstances can impair the storytelling.
In Ghost House, the horror reveals are presented in appetizing portions. In this example, a break appears at the 50:03 mark only to resume seconds later with a more intense delivery. This is not your traditional jump scare set up.
The practical effects were fascinating. Its obvious attention went into this field of production. The elaborate expression of the creature leaves a haunting expression. Below is the list of the talent involved in delivering the horror on screen.
makeup artist / special makeup effects department head
hair stylist/makeup artist
Vincent Van Dyke
prosthetic makeup designer / special makeup effects artist
The performances were enjoyable. James Landry Hébert and Scout Taylor-Compton were the highlights of the film. Yet, the spotlight does fall on Taylor-Compton’s emphasis in communicating fear and emotional collapse.
The narrative loses its Horror appeal with the added subplot. This storyline involves Jim trying to save his girlfriend Julie. From tracking down the bad guys to securing a potential cure these sequences don’t offer impact to the narrative. It would have been much appreciated to learn more about the antagonizing force. For instance, Jim could have done research to combat the apparition. After all, Ghost House does present a grounded story of modern folklore and superstition. It would only make sense to pursue this narrative.
It was a surprise to see actor Mark Boone Junior star in Ghost House. The grizzled actor portrays Reno a gangster-like character. Yet, the role is haphazard with respect to the well-structured performance the role just seems out of place. The subplot introducing this character has no definitive purpose.
With the script decisions described above Ghost House ventures into two different directions. The film, therefore, becomes a mishmash of intelligent supernatural Horror and a monotonous paranormal thriller.
The relationship between Jim (James Landry Hébert) and his girlfriend Julie (Scout Taylor-Compton) seems strained and unnatural. From the observation of this critic, it appears the relationship doesn’t convey appropriate chemistry. The bond between these two characters looks alien and its difficult to ascertain what is wrong with the connection.
Ghost House is a fantastic re-imagination of Asian themed supernatural films. Unlike the pathetic Hollywood remakes on the genre, Rich Ragsdale delivers something worthwhile to Horror cinema. Last year Jason Zada tried to pay homage to Asian Horror films but fell short in every production aspect. In essence, Zada’s film was a poorly executed carbon copy. The difference here is great camera work, fantastic practical effects, and compelling folklore infused narrative makes Ghost House stand out.
Click for information on rating metric: 0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40 Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive