It seems that every few years the paranormal becomes popular, it happened in the mid-90s with The X Files and is currently making a return with Ghost Hunters. Now, an Egyptian filmmaker, Ahmed Khalifa, brings that feeling to an indie movie…sort of.
The idea behind Wingrave is a great one, a paranormal investigator hires himself out to find bad spirits and make them move on to the next plane of existence. The movie has three tales built into it, one the story of a woman who is trying to contact her dead brother and something evil is standing in her way, the second is a story of a house that is possessed by an evil spirit who thrives on murder/suicides and the last is a continuation of the first story, with the woman now being possessed by an evil that Wingrave must identify and drive out before she loses her mind. The concept and look of the film is amazing, the acting seems to be top notch and the stories are compelling. The problem with this movie is fairly simple, there’s almost no dialogue! The stories are all told in the style of a silent movie, but there’s a soundtrack (a slightly monotonous one, but a soundtrack nonetheless) and there is some narration by the Wingrave character, but, except for about five minutes in the last twenty of the movie, no one talks…well, they talk, but you don’t hear their voices, you have to read what they’re saying. Now, I have nothing against subtitles, I’ve watched more than my share of foreign films to deal with that, but the fact that the cast is speaking English, and there are still subtitles drove me a little crazy. Was this some kind of style choice? Was there a reason that all dialogue was rendered into graphics? I’m not really sure, but I don know that on more than one occasion, I had to pause the movie, so that I could read what was going on in the movie, which is never a good sign to me.
I’m giving Wingrave two out of four cigars, because the concept and look of the movie are great, it’s the execution that could have used a little bit more work! You can see for yourself whether I’m bitching a little too much about this movie, or if I’m right by heading over to the Tempe Video web site and getting a copy for yourself. So, until next time, when I’ll try to figure a way to turn my column into an audio file, so you don’t even have to read this, remember that the best movies are bad movies.