Ghosts of Darkness centers on Jack Donavan (played by Michael Koltes, Capsule, Alice Through the Looking Glass), a paranormal investigator, and Jonathan Blazer (played by Paul Flannery, Nightmare Live, The MMORPG Show), a psychic, who are locked in a haunted house together and tasked with solving its many mysteries. In 100 years, numerous families have tried to stay at the estate, but all succumb to horrifying deaths within the first three days. Seduced by the prospect of $50,000 a piece, both Jack and Jon worth together in order to discover if the house is really haunted or if their investigation is a farce.
Given its out there premise, Ghosts of Darkness is an unexpectedly deep piece that bravely focuses more on the characters of Jack and Jon rather than the goings on at the house. When the film begins the two are strangers, but that does not stop them from resenting each other as soon as they realize what the other man does for a living. Paranormal investigator Jack, who works tirelessly to debunk hauntings, mystics, and the like, is instantly skeptical and dismissive of Jon’s claims of being a renowned psychic.
On the other hand, Jon quickly rolls his eyes at Jack’s beeping equipment and skepticism, so needless to say the first act of Ghost of Darkness is filled with playground insults and grown men having tantrums at their escalating situation. However, as things get more interesting in the house, the two become closer and, the closer they become, their characters become fully realized, relatable, and more developed.
The journey to get there isn’t always captivating (there are moments that are borderline tedious) but the two men keep us invested. Ghosts of Darkness also wisely distracts you from the fact that the movie takes place in a single location. Besides moving from room to room, there are only two scenes set outside of the house, but the film is crafted in such a way that these limits do not hold the story back. There is so much happening within Ghosts of Darkness that, after the first act, the viewer sort of forgets that all of it is happening inside a single house.
However, there are some aspects to the movie that seem to have started life as good concepts, but ended up silly or unexplained. This especially happens as the intensity of the activity increases and hints to the mystery of the place are offered to the viewer. While some of these concepts are neat and different, such as the solid form of the ghost, others fall flat, like the appearance of the monster. For all the movie’s creativity, relying on early-2000s graphics for the monster aesthetic should have been tossed. The scenes with the physical form of the monster are ruined because of these silly choices and honestly, choosing a different path could have taken this film a step in the right direction.
Overall, Ghosts of Darkness is not a bad movie by any means, but it is a more Friday night fun horror movie than a serious, get your teddy ready fright flick. There are a lot of elements that were expertly crafted and entice me to see more from this director, who only has one other horror credit under his belt. But it’s not exactly life-changing either.
Catch Ghosts of Darkness which is already available on VOD!
WICKED RATING: 5/10
Director(s): David Ryan Keith
Writer(s): David Ryan Keith
Stars: Michael Koltes, Paul Flannery, Steve Weston
Studio/ Production Co: Clear Focus Movies, Strong Oak Pictures
Release date: March 8, 2017
Length: 82 min