THE GHOSTMAKER (2011)
Directed by Mauro Borrelli
After clearing out an elderly woman’s property as part of his removal service, Kyle comes across an old but expensive looking coffin. Too good to take to landfill, he decides to put it up for sale. Whilst cleaning the luxurious leather interior, he finds a hidden layer below filled with a clockwork mechanism. With the aid of college friend and nerd Platt, he discovers the coffin is in fact an 15th century creation designed to give the user of the coffin an ‘out of body’ experience, a glimpse into life after death without actually dying. With the opportunity to experiment with life beyond their own, Kyle and his friends begin to dabble with the mysterious coffin, actions which begin to reveal their dark sides.
Directed by Mauro Borrelli and supposedly ‘inspired by a true story’, THE GHOSTMAKER is a horror thriller that sets itself apart from the rest of teen horrors in the fact that it actually has an interesting storyline that grips the viewer from the very start. Here we have a coffin, which we can tell straight away isn’t an ‘ordinary’ one, that can do some crazy things that are out of this world. Whilst the audience knows this thing shouldn’t be messed, we certainly get delight with a mixture of fear and curiousity at the potential of the clockwork casket. Little things, such as the creation described in an old book in the library, complete with pictures, just adds to the backstory of malice the coffin was designed for. Whilst the coffin side of things is a pretty cool concept, the things in which the boys get up to during their experiments with the coffin soon turn self-centred and detract from the frightening coffin they possess. It’s at the halfway point where the film slips into the traditional, teen B-movie horror territory where the characters exploit their addictive weaknesses. To be fair though, the film handles it pretty well though I believe the film would have had more scope had it have stuck to a mythological, blakc magic exploration.
Aaron Dean Eisenberg takes the lead as Kyle, a college student slacker who’s sponging off his girlfriend Julie (Liz Fenning) and his disabled housemate Sutton (J. Walter Holland). Little do they realise the debt he’s in to shady local Marcus (a brief but excellent performance by Domiziano Arcangeli). When he comes across the coffin, his prayers are finally answered when it appears he can make a sweet buck but Platt’s revelations about the coffin give him other ideas instead. Sutton, though reserved initially, is keen to test it out, whilst a wary Platt, played by Jared Grey, tales a more scientific angle on the whole affair, being the highly educated and sensitive of the bunch. The performances are better than you would expect from a B-movie, though the script needed a little tightening up, particularly in the latter end of the movie where the film heavily focuses on the characters as individuals rather than part of a group.
With some downright creepy visuals, THE GHOSTMAKER is a pleasant indie surprise indeed!