Ghost house (2017) — culture crypt

     

Rich Ragsdale’s low-budget horror film ‘Ghost House’ follows an unsuspecting couple’s encounter with supernatural forces in rural Vương Quốc của nụ cười.

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Two clueless American tourists on a visit to xứ sở của những nụ cười thân thiện fall victyên lớn a vengeful detháng in Ghost House, a discordantly derivative attempt at amalgamating divergent horror cliches và unrelated cultural traditions. Familiar themes of supernatural possession và murderous intent, along with a competently assembled trailer, may be enough khổng lồ lure the unsuspecting into theaters, but late-night streamer surfing is likely to lớn yield a more sizable audience.

If you’ve ever taken a vacation to lớn a country where English is only spoken only as the third or fourth local language, maybe you prepared by reading some destination guides, consulting experienced friends or checking out online resources. So that by the time you arrive sầu, you already know some survival basics: Ignore the touts (whatever they’re touting), never take the first price offered (on almost anything) & respond cautiously lớn overly friendly strangers (especially if they insist on buying dinner or drinks).


Some people lượt thích to wing it, though, so on their first overseas trip, Los Angeles couple Jlặng (James Landry Hebert) and Julie (Scout Taylor Compton) arrive sầu unprepared at Suvarnabhumày airport và are instantly accosted by Gogo (Thai-Canadian Michael S. New), a voluble Bangkok shuttle driver & self-styled tourist guide. After he drops them at their hotel, they enjoy a lãng mạn dinner at a trendy riverside restaurant, where Jlặng proposes & Julie joyfully accepts. Apparently nobody toàn thân told them lớn avoid sketchy punters, though, because when they return to their khách sạn, they’re waylaid by Brits Rob (Russell Geoffrey Banks) and Bill (Rich Lee Gray), who invite them out for a drink khổng lồ celebrate their engagement.

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In fact, their party-hearty plan is actually a ruse lớn persuade the Americans to lớn drive upcountry with them in the middle of the night to visit a Tnhị cultural site that turns out to lớn be an abandoned Buddhist graveyard located in a dismal forest. Almost jokingly, Rob goads Julie inlớn removing a miniature stone figure from one of the cemetery’s spirit houses, a type of devotional shrine shaped lượt thích a traditional Tnhì temple. As Rob và Bill make a dash for their vehicle, a horrific female detháng materializes, practically consuming Julie, who’s left nearly catatonic. Abandoned and struggling to find their way out of the woods & locate help, Jyên realizes that their situation is way more serious than some kind of an elaborate prank và that Julie’s life may actually be endangered.


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In a typical horror movie, we might go along with this presumption of supernatural possession, but Ghost House’s perspective & reference points are so random that this central plot twist never really takes hold. Aside from the point that spirit houses (or “ghost houses” if you want to lớn điện thoại tư vấn them that) aren’t considered the tên miền of demons, this otherworldly being bears far more resemblance khổng lồ the long-haired, sallow-skinned ghouls of J-horror touchstones The Ring & The Grudge than any equivalent in Tnhì folklore. (In fact, Gogo tells Jlặng that the spirit possessing Julie is the ghost of a Japanese woman who died under violent circumstances.)

Not that you’d care either way if this detháng attached itself to lớn you, và Julie certainly isn’t culturally profiling the thing. Mostly she just wants khổng lồ get rid of it before the three-day incubation period expires & she’s completely consumed. But that means that Jyên will to lớn have to lớn man up and confront badass American drug dealer Reno (Mark Boone Junior), who seems khổng lồ be the only one with a clue about how lớn completely banish the ghoul after an earlier exorcism fails.

Yes, there’s more than just a whiff of Only God Forgives hanging over Rich Ragsdale’s feature, as he turns up the lurid lighting effects while Kevin O’Sullivan & Jason Chase Tyrrell’s script pits desperate expats against unnervingly unfamiliar cultural norms. They really don’t need to expkết thúc so much effort trying khổng lồ sort it all out, though, since the film’s internal súc tích remains monumentally nonsensical, with the exception of a sinister plot device linking the central characters that echoes David Robert Mitchell’s far superior It Follows.

With all of this cultural & creative appropriation going on, it’s hard lớn isolate a real glimmer of originality, but perhaps for a composer doubling as a director, Ragsdale’s real talent is for creative sầu assimilation.

Production companies: KNR Productions, Benetone Films, The ExchangeDistributor: Vertical EntertainmentCast: James Landry Hebert, Scout Taylor Compton, Mark Boone Junior, Michael S. New, Russell Geoffrey Banks, Rich Lee GrayDirector: Rich RagsdaleScreenwriters: Kevin O’Sullivan, Jason Chase TyrrellProducers: Veronica Radaelli, Kevin RagsdaleExecutive sầu producers: Luke Daniels, Daetháng Hillin, Kulthep Narula, Rachvin Narula, Alan Pao, Jeanette ZhouDirector of photography: Pierluigi MalavasiProduction designer: Thongchai SittiratCostume designer: Kim H. NgoEditor: Jay GartlandMusic: Rich Ragsdale