28th May 2018 (UK VOD release)
A young couple go on an adventurous vacation to Thailand only to find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit after naively disrespecting a Ghost House.
Scout Taylor-Compton, James Landry Hébert, Mark Boone Junior
In Rich Ragsdale’s Ghost House, a young woman must race against time to find a remove a curse placed on her by a malevolent force. Sound familiar? It should; it’s a strikingly similar premise to Sam Raimi’s 2009 horror comedy Drag Me To Hell. Here’s the difference: one is a thoroughly entertaining, OTT feature which makes the most of its low budget and the other is, well, Ghost House.
The film follows young couple Julie (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Jim (James Landry Hebert) holidaying in Thailand. Everything’s going well at first, with the pair doing typically touristy things: taking photos, exploring new areas, disrespecting other cultures; you know, the usual.
The problems begin when Julie accidentally disturbs an ancient ‘Ghost House’ which unleashes an evil spirit that curses her and gives her three days to find a way to remove it – or else her soul will be lost to the ghost world forever.
From a quick scan of his IMDb profile, Ragsdale clearly likes to have his fingers in all aspects of the film making pie and as such there are no arguments that Ghost House is a competently made picture. It’s also very, very loud with every scare falling firmly under the ‘jump’ type; extended scenes of silence followed by a deafeningly loud shriek or musical crash is the only way a cheap jolt is provided with none of them feeling earned. An effective opening sequence that introduces us to the spirit Watabe falsely displays promise but an over eager Ragsdale unwisely reveals all far too early and leaves nothing to the imagination.
As for the leads, it’s hard to really praise them either. Scout Taylor-Compton (who played Laurie in both Rob Zombie’s Halloween and its sequel) spends the majority of the film bedridden or screaming, while James Landry Herbert’s Jim is a slightly more fleshed out character but never fully appears to grasp the magnitude of the situation that his partner faces. Mark Boone Junior, who recently appeared in the rock-based horror American Satan, is always fun to watch and makes the most of his sleazy role here.
It isn’t all bad: there are some gorgeous shots of Thailand, a few of the scares admittedly do have potential and Ragsdale should be commended for opting to use practical effects and makeup for the most part. Ultimately though, Ghost House follows an instruction manual written by countless horrors before it and uses the same recycled bricks from them to build a shaky foundation for a spiritless film that is indistinguishable from anything else in the genre.
Ghost House will be available to rent on VOD in the UK from 28th May 2018
Pretty shots of Thailand
Practical effects and make-up
Deafening soundtrack and abundance of cheap jump scares
No reason to invest in characters