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Ghost in the Graveyard (2019)

The town of Mt. Moriah comes under the thumb of Martha, a ghost who comes back to haunt the teens, who witnessed her death as children, during a "game" of 'Ghost in the Graveyard.'


Writer / director Charlie Comparetto (feature debut) has created an interesting film with Ghost in the Graveyard. As a director Comparetto is pretty solid. He's done some second unit stuff before, obviously has an eye for it, and this is the result. And directorially, it's pleasing. The writing is okay, but needed a serious edit before it got to the cameras. Consequently the film does have pacing issues, and several plot threads that either do little, or probably shouldn't have been there to start with. But the underlying film is solid. Perhaps too long, or perhaps more time could be spent on better things. On that note, however, it does have an ending that comes out of nowhere, and you'll know from our review of the recent Eli, that can be problematic from a viewers perspective. This film handles it far better, and the shock twist plays out from the beginning of the third act instead of the midpoint, giving a far better viewing experience. To be honest, the twist is worth hanging around for - it's good stuff.

The film itself is a slow paced supernatural horror, with little reliance on dodgy low budget CG, and plays well to its strengths. The plot works well for the production, and everyone is clearly trying very hard. It leans on the dramatic aspect of the screenplay hard, which works extremely well when dependent on a lower budget, and having some talent in front of the camera doesn't hurt that. That said, with heavy leaning on drama, comes a lighter touch on horror. The film is largely gore-less, but also shy on jumpscares, thank goodness.

The cast are good. Lead, Kelli Berglund (Going for Gold) does a good job shouldering the film, and there's an impressive supporting cast include Jake Busey (The Predator) and Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray). The standout player however is Royce Johnson (The Punisher) who stands head and shoulder above. Fun fact, Maria Olsen who plays "the witch" has over 200 credits to her name (at the time of writing) seemingly specializing in playing creepy women (Paranormal Activity 3, The Lords of Salem, American Horror Story, etc, etc, etc...). Unsurprisingly, she is good at it.

If you're looking for a shock-a-minute splatterfest you'll not find it here. Ghost in the Graveyard is a well-made, quiet, horror, leaning far-closer to 2009's The House of the Devil, than say, Saw. It is probably aimed at a younger demographic, with the bulk of the players being teen, however, I found it a fresh departure from the PG-13 CGI fests that seem to make up the bulk of the horror release schedules (I'm looking at you, Blumhouse).

Definitely worth seeing. Maybe slide it in between It Comes at Night and Hereditary for a marathon.

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