“When the staff inside a renovated film studio finds a co-worker dead one morning, the pieces of a forty year puzzle add up to an angry ghost who has let the last person step inside her house. But will they ever get out alive?”
“Ghost of Goodnight Lane” has a nice, simplistic plot that can be described in just a few words (see above. Seriously.), but plays out over two hours. It is a plot idea that isn’t necessarily unique or new- a haunting of a facility, a ghost with a history, etc., but it is a film worth watching. Not because of the effects or the story, but because of the cast. Billy Zane (The Phantom, Titanic), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls), and a cameo appearance by Danielle Harris make this film what it is- a comedic horror film. Whether it was intentional or not, this film definitely has deadpan humor that carries over from scene to scene, led by Billy Zane.
While the film’s story unfolds of a busy production company in a studio working on a film of their own, they are plagued by an angry ghost, who’s story is told in a series of flashbacks. Relationships are revealed, busty actresses taking showers are highlighted, and ridiculous scenes of the film within a film are exposed, all having not much to do with the actual storyline. The first death takes place minutes after the film kicks off, but then stagnates for a good forty minutes before any more blood is shed. During those forty minutes, we see the hauntings begin, and meet the film production company while they are getting ready for a shoot with a hot dancer and her crew. The tension is slightly built up, but Zane’s character- the director of the film company, just brushes everything under the rug with his deadpan humor. The cast of the shoot arrives and as the team begins shooting their video, the killings begin.
While the main jist of the story is not all that original, some of the aspects are interesting. Ghost stories tend to rely on extremely tragic ghosts to tell their stories effectively, and this film relies more on the living than the dead. Of course, the element of revealing the ghost’s backstory is in the film, but it doesn’t take up the bulk of screen time. Where the story loses me was when a supernatural element comes into play during one of the deaths. One of the victim’s- the sound engineer- seems to somehow slip into a wormhole in his studio room. What? Exactly. It doesn’t make any sense. But that’s it. That’s the only supernatural moment (aside from the whole ghost thing).
The cinematography has issues. I applaud the filmmakers for using a variety of techniques for filming- from slow motion to speeding up the film to tossing in all sorts of computer generated visual effects (there is a really cool one with a board of nails). But if you watch closely, there are a ton of problems. In one scene that takes place in a bedroom, Danielle Harris sits on a bed brushing her hair. In the corner of the shot, a doll sits, and turns her head to look at the unsuspecting Harris. Above the doll, Harris’ reflection can be seen as she brushes her hair, but while the doll’s head is turning, the reflection doesn’t move in sync with Harris, as that half of the shot is sped up. Cool technique, but didn’t really pay off.
The final twist in the film is a palm to forehand move. Entirely. You have to watch it to see it, but it is a moment in film that made me laugh out loud. It cemented in my mind that this film was more of a comedy than horror. The production value in this film is definitely there, with the presence of the talented cast, but the story is definitely a story that shouldn’t be looked at too seriously.
Would I watch this film again? Maybe if I was playing a drinking game with it- every funny line would be a shot, but I wouldn’t watch this movie sober again.
Want to see it? It is available on Amazon and in Wal Mart (as of June 10th). Check out more information on the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GhostofGoodnightLane