Review: Ghosts Don't Exist DVD

Ghosts Don't ExistSTUDIO: Echo Bridge | DIRECTOR: Eric Espejo | CAST: Phillip Roebuck, Devon Marie Burt, Frederick Cowie, Josh Davidson
RELEASE DATE: 9/7/10 | PRICE: DVD $6.99
SPECS: NR | 100 min. | Horror | 1.33:1 fullscreen | Dolby Digital stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

A title like Ghosts Don’t Exist is bound to have some contemporary appeal in the wake of the popularity of such films as Paranormal Activity (which made $107 million at the box office), Paranormal Activity 2 ($84.5 million) and the SyFy Channel’s top-rated reality fright-fest Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, among other cable-friendly ghost-hunting shows.

But instead of another haunted house thriller, or a ghost-inflicted gorefest, Ghosts Don’t Exist exists in a netherworld between; it’s more of a demonic possession saga and a somber meditation on loss, and those hoping for more than the occasional bump in the night will be disappointed.

The movie’s premise is not without merit: A popular TV ghost hunter, Brett Wilson (Phillip Roebuck, Kiss From the Grave) is, quite literally, haunted by the grim death of his pregnant wife. When his depression makes it impossible for him to continue working, Brett announces his retirement, only to have Travis (Joe Hansard, Crazy Eights), an obsessed fan, compel him to do one more episode — one with a guarantee that there will be proof of ghosts. With Brett’s crew ready to interview him, Travis shoots himself.

Surely the tempo will pick up now that we have a rabbit to follow down the hole, right? But, no. Director Eric Espejo maintains the same humorless, measured pace, a tempo that’s slowed down by a constant orchestral score that refuses to provide a beat. Despite feeling a few sorrowful pangs for the bereaved Brett, it’s hard to feel anything for his crew who for some reason are trapped inside a house that’s sending them into hallucination-induced sweats.

A quiet, contemplative drama driven by a convincing Roebuck, who is steadfastly forlorn in every scene, Ghosts Don’t Exist is a thoughtful chamber piece. But, as an indie horror saga capitalizing on the paranormal craze, it’s a disappointment.

One notable point: The movie was executive produced by Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, who appears in the film as a sheriff’s deputy.


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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.