|Aftermath of the opening bloodbath|
All the usual tricks are out in force in this one: the haunted house; the freaky kid; the terrorised in bed dreams; the crawling, decayed ghost hands on protagonist’s faces; the weird middle-aged neighbour who is hiding something; and the creepy shaman grandmother in a mental institute who knows the truth about the demon. And that’s pretty much all this is, an excuse to go through the motions but with some very attractive leads and fancy locations.
|Sleepy dream scenes|
The most tedious problem with the film is that there are no less than seven instances of the sisters dreaming about the child, with a bloodied demon face, doing horrible things to them, including cutting off their feet and stabbing out their eyes, which mostly take place in bed. Isn’t it obvious to the filmmakers that, aside from how silly and bad for the narrative this repetitious device is, each new version on the theme will dilute the potency of the scares? My eyeballs were doing loop-the-loops by the third or fourth of these sequences. Such unimaginative filmmaking, surely they could figure out another way to insert scares and violent imagery.
|Freaky kid, yawn|
For the most part the film is well shot and the production design and locations look great but the real problem seems to be the editing. A lot is badly or not explained and this could be the result of scenes that didn’t work that were cut out, or it could have been that it did not occur to the filmmakers that certain things needed explanation. This is why you have reshoots! Maybe they didn’t have the money, or worse they didn’t care. The little splices of violent imagery, another staple of the genre, were poorly executed as well. It’s all about timing and Ghastly is very uneven.
|Homicide detective my foot|
For a film that takes pains in its aesthetics and goes so far as to reference revered horror classics such as Psycho (1960) and The Shining (1980), Ghastly has nothing original to say or show us. Blood is spilt, some skin is flashed, shamanism is thrown in, even pedophilia is alluded to for good measure, but all we’re left with is a series of discordant elements and disconnected scenes, though at 77 minutes, at least it’s mercifully short.
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