I wasn’t born yesterday, I knew what I was getting into when I put my name forward for the screener disc of Ghostquake. I expected something pretty bad and I got it, oh boy did I get it.
The laughable plot concerns a bit of a quake that releases some ghosts. I know, I know, you’re shocked and stunned by that premise, but the fun doesn’t stop there. These ghosts are released into a school and led by a former headmaster, Danforth (played by M. C. Gainey). Danforth is also the grandfather of Quentin (Jonathan Baron), who happens to now be stuck in the school with a bunch of other random, disposable characters. Charisma Carpenter appears in this mess, though she has the good sense to only take part for a minute or two, while Danny Trejo tries to hit a new low, playing a janitor who knows more about the situation than anybody else and wants to put a stop to it.
It would be far too easy to pick apart everything that’s wrong with Ghostquake and to sling insults at director Jeffery Scott Lando and writers Anthony C. Ferrante and Paul A. Birkett. So that’s just what I’ll do.
Just kidding. I rarely resort to outright rudeness in a review unless a movie actually angers me (which, I think, has only happened once or twice) and I’m not about to start now. The script has one or two enjoyable references to other movies (and how often do you see/hear The Gate given a nod so fair play to Ferrante and Birkett for that moment) but is stuck for the other 95% of the time with the usual horrible dialogue and cringe-inducing one-liners so common to TV movie fare such as this. Lando’s direction is also completely in line with the non-theatrical ambitions of the piece and it’s always sad to see people working on this kind of thing that don’t even try to rise above the limitations of the format.
M. C. Gainey (and I like the guy) is embarrassing for almost every moment that he’s onscreen and Trejo needs to be pickier about the roles that he accepts, but the younger actors – Baron, Lauren Pennington, Shawn C. Phillips, Gabe Begneaud – don’t do that badly.
The death scenes would be a lot more fun if they weren’t so bloodless. I know that this is a TV movie but that doesn’t mean everything has to be kept out of sight, surely. One scene, in particular, is framed in such a frustrating manner just to keep any nasty imagery off-screen that viewers will start to wonder why they’re even bothering to watch such a lame, flimsy piece of dreck calling itself a horror.
This may be fun for any younger horror fans that you know, but for anyone over the age of 12 (the film is rated “15”, I have no idea how that happened) it’s not worth bothering with.
Ghostquake tries to shake you up when it’s released on January 21st but I don’t recommend handing over your hard earned cash for it. Wait until it pops up on SyFy.
DIRECTOR: JEFFERY SCOTT LANDO
WRITER: ANTHONY C. FERRANTE, PAUL A. BIRKETT
STARS: M. C. GAINEY, DANNY TREJO, JONATHAN BARON, LAUREN PENNINGTON, SHAWN C. PHILLIPS, GABE BEGNEAUD, MARC DONATO, STEPHANIE FISCHER, CHARISMA CARPENTER, MISTY MARSHALL
RUNTIME: 84 MINS APPROX