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Overall Rating
3.36

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look60%
Average: 24%
Pretty Bad: 8%
Total Crap: 8%

3 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Ghosts of Edendale, The
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by Chris Parry

"Low budget scares - low rent script - high return on your investment."
3 stars

I've often considered the eternal conundrum of the male film critic, and still today it perplexes me... that is, is it okay for a critic to make mention of the fact that the lead actress in a film is totally smokin' hot, and that you hope she's single and maybe one day bumps into you at a film festival and can't resist the urge to... okay, I think I just answered my own question. Definitely not okay. Regardless, Paula Ficara is totally hot, can act a bit, and will be reason enough for the target audience of this film to go rent it for an evening. Which makes it a shame that he isn't featured on the DVD cover, but I digress. The flick? Eh, she's not too bad.

Rachel (Paula Ficara, who we've discussed) and her wonk boyfriend Kevin (Stephen Wastell) have decided that they must be screenwriters if their life is to have any meaning. And just like every couple who decided they can write as well as anyone else, instead of simply doing so, they decide to quit their jobs, move to LA, and become entrenched in the movie biz culture... then write. That, in itself, should be grounds for a truly horrific film, as the couple struggle to make ends meet, grow to hate each other and eventually become involved in a macabre recreation of the Tate murder on their hot tub deck, but that wouldn't sell so well to the scare-lovin' crowd, so instead we have ghosts to deal with.

Yes indeedy. See, the area the wannabe Goldman's moved into is an area called Edendale, which is populated by folks who make a good living in the film biz, but also boasts a few residents that *used* to make their living in the film biz... back in the beginning of the 20th century, when the area was a backlot for Tom Mix's western film studio. And let's just say that the Mix crowd has some unfinished business in the film industry.

As things take root, Rachel and Kevin shag all over their hastily abandoned home, meeting the odd neighbors and getting the occasional fright from things in the cupboard, as writer/director Stefan Avalos weaves a nice quilt of suspense, sexuality and occasional humor, on the way to a little psycho-freaky-mindfuckdom. Helping him along the way are some very impressive special effects (for such a small budget), which actually manage to not look cheap, and even help the atmosphere and storyline progress to a place that the script would otherwise have been unable to venture.

Though the cast (at least the leads) manages to keep things above the level that films this inexpensive are usually held to, and Ficara shows that she's destined for far bigger things (especialy towards the end of the filmf), the dialogue is mostly terrible. Avalos' wordplay manages to hit a few high points, but also a few long, slow lows, and when his male lead switches gears, he takes the character way further, way quicker, than a capable screenwriter should. Instead of a subtle change that begins to pick up steam, we get a sudden switch from sweetheart to maniac that seems to give away the 'secret' of the film far too early.

'Good folks gone wrong' is an old standard of cheap thriller films, but the key to it is in not knowing how far wrong they're going until the rollercoaster is heading on the big arc downwards. With Ghosts of Edendale, you pretty much know as the train is leaving the station where it'll be headed over the following hour or so.

Despite that beef, Ghosts of Edendale is really an impressive piece of work, though it's not that great a film. It manages to creep you out, yet it isn't a slasher or gore flick. It cost about a buck seventy five, yet it looks like it cost at least... well, maybe a few grand. Maybe. And it stars nobody you've ever heard of, yet you come away not despising the no-names you've just spent 90 minutes getting to know. If your video store is stocking it as a new release, I'd walk on by. But if the film is available for a nice weekly rate, definitely lend Edendale an hour and a half of your time and see what can be done with a smart concept, a lot of capable friends, and the pocket change you find in the couch.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9022&reviewer=1
originally posted: 11/03/04 07:05:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Horror Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Horror Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/28/08 Rooster No words for the movie but Paula, WOW what a lady. 2 stars
3/02/06 Jane Hightower Nice to see a thoughtful, non-bloody horror story again 4 stars
7/25/05 Indrid Cold A few creepy moments make this slightly above unwatchable. 2 stars
5/01/05 J Layman Simply astoundingly bad in all aspects. 1 stars
2/01/05 Mary Anne Loved this movie! Creepy! Loved the special effex. 4 stars
11/07/04 greg paula is one totally HOTTT!!! young lady!!! 4 stars
10/25/04 thismoviesuckedrealbad this movie was so horrible, FROMAGE 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Oct-2004 (R)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004

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