[REVIEW] THE GHOSTMAKER (2012)
From the mind of Mauro Borrelli, comes THE GHOSTMAKER (renamed from BOX OF SHADOWS), a supernatural thriller highlighting the thin line between life and death. A group of college students come across a coffin like no other, it was made in the 15th century by an inventor that liked to experiment with torture devices. Once they start to test the machine, they soon realise it causes near death experiences, allowing them to wander the mortal world as ghosts.
What makes this b-movie so fascinating is the way that the story is told. There was not one moment when watching this where I felt bored, or thought that parts were starting to drag on. The script was extremely well written, blending the horror and fantasy genres together perfectly. It was excellent to see that it didn’t rely on gore and jump scares to scare the audience too. Suspense was one of the main techniques used to make this film so thrilling. There was one scene in particular that dealt with the subject of rape, and it was built up absolutely flawlessly. It was one of those ‘sitting at the edge of your seat, wanting to know what happens next immediately’ kind of moments.
A major theme throughout the film was addiction and it came in two forms – Kyle’s (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) addiction to crystal meth, and the group of friend’s addiction to the coffin. It was great to see some in depth character development in a film of this genre. The only criticism I have about the characters is that even though some back-story was given, I felt that there needed to be more. I would have liked to have seen the start of Kyle’s downfall and why he started taking drugs, also how Sutton (J. Walter Holland) became wheelchair bound.
For a film of this calibre, unfortunately even with the one million dollar budget, the special effects were quite dire. When the characters changed into their ghostly counterparts, they just turned blue and had an ethereal glow around them – it didn’t look convincing at all. At least their eyes were pure white, so it looked creepy in some way. The antagonist of the film was a steam punk looking demon, who was actually the creator of the coffin. He lurks around the characters homes, and without actually being a real threat to them (as he doesn’t try and harm them), the characters get scared in the most overdramatic way possible. It’s understandable when the demon is following them around, but not when it’s just sitting in the corner of their room, doing nothing at all. Also, the aesthetics of the demon were questionable. It was a great idea having its face made out of cogs and wheels, but whenever it appeared, it looked like it belonged in a different film. The demon just didn’t unite with the background, so it was as if it was just stuck over the top of the film at the last moment.
However, from start to finish I was captivated by the strong narrative, interesting characters and creepy music. This isn’t just a film that wants to entertain; it deals with real life situations and is filled with important moral lessons.