Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
December 1st, 2010

Ghost Game

Ghost Game
Directed by Joe Knee
Written by Joe Knee, Ben Eren, James Henney
Starring Alexandra Barreto, Shelby Fenner, Robert Berson, Curt Cornelius
Produced by Joe Knee, Elsa Ramo, Jeff Berry, Nick Soares
70 mins

Everybody get on board the cliche train, because we're a-leavin the station with Ghost Game, the movie that teaches you never, ever to play board games you find inside abandoned cabins. Especially when they come with big old warning notes on top of them that read "Don't play this game" in big scrawled capital letters.

Ghost Game proves that, once again, horny college kids are some of the stupidest things on Earth, and possibly the only thing dumber is vaguely hot chicks who think they're witches. And we take a party of horny college kids out to run afoul of the hot pseudo-witches. And now, the college kids will have to try and outlast the hot psuedo-witches (or the ghosts of same) by playing a little game. Who will make it out alive? Who will make it out dead? And will the audience manage to survive the sheer boredom of it all?

Okay, so I'm overstating that a bit. It's not that boring--it's actually kind of fun to watch these kids run around an island in the midst of a gruesome scavenger hunt. But this fun is somewhat diminished when you note that one of the lead actresses is sporting a shirt from one of the movie's commercial sponsors.

The rest of the movie is entertaining, if a bit unremarkable. I mean, the opening is about the same as has been seen in a hundred other low-budget horror movies. Is "filming inside a car" like the first class everybody takes in film school or what? Is this a requirement? You can't even get into film school unless you can film a ten-minute sequence inside a car?

Well, in the low-budget horror circles, it's actually pretty good if you manage to not completely screw it up. Let's face it, the bar on this kind of thing is really very low, so take it for what it's worth--you'll see much, much worse movies than Ghost Game. You'll see many better, of course, but this by itself will do for a boozy party with friends.

The ending is a bit depressing and short on any kind of justice (nothing's worse than an ending where evil was pretty much going to win no matter what--it's not a spoiler, just an explanation).

The special features include English subtitles, a trailer for Ghost Game, and a still gallery.

All in all, it's not a terrible movie, all things considered, and though you can do a lot better, you can do a lot worse too. Ghost Game should be worthwhile enough, but don't expect anything better than average out of this and you'll do all right.


Directed by Kyle Rankin
Written by Kyle Rankin
Starring Christopher Marquette, Brooke Nevin, E. Quincy Sloan, Ray Wise
Produced by Jeff Balts, Rhoades Rader, TJ Sakasegawa
91 mins

We've seen vampire apocalypses, zombie apocalypses, apocalypses involving human beings getting enraged for reasons that are sometimes clear and sometimes not. In fact, we've seen the end of the world come about in a lot of different ways, but one we haven't seen lately? Bugs. That's just what we'll get a dose of with Infestation.

Infestation follows Cooper, a young ne'er-do-well and modern-era slacker who's in for the fight of his life when he hears an unusual high pitched tone at work one day. The tone causes him--and everyone else in hearing distance--to pass out. But Cooper wakes up a little early and discovers what's behind the tone, a legion of giant bugs that mean to turn people into a giant buffet. Now it's up to Cooper and a band of the thoroughly unlikely--a psychology student, a janitor and his son, the television weather lady, and Cooper's own ex-military father--to take on the horde of bugs and make at least their little part of the world safe. Infestation is a lot more clever than it really has any right to be. Seriously, we're staring at a buggy apocalypse and we get more one-liners than your typical Bruce Willis movie. But they're effective one-liners at that, so it makes some sense--making a buggy apocalypse into a partial comedy is worthwhile enough.

Oh, and Ray Wise is in this--and that is utterly awesome. I'm starting to think he's good in anything; I've seen him in a few different things so far and he really manages to put in a great performance.

I've always been fond of dystopian fare, and Infestation really is just that. The downside to it is that it's not going to do a real good job of explaining things, important things like where the bugs came from or why they're suddenly the size of some entire cars. Or why the weather girl is suddenly horny for our ne'er-do-well office putz. But still, what is here is great, with a great mix of action, horror, and comedy.

At least, until the ending. The ending is clearly setting up something, but we have no idea what that something is. I mean, come on--I understand the urge to set up for a sequel, but that's just way too blatant. The first one needs to stand on its own merit BEFORE you set up the sequel. The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, audio options, a director's commentary track, and trailers for Infestation, It's ALive, Monster, Into Temptation, and Command Performance.

All in all, I'm very impressed with this. It's great fun, lots of laughs, some good old fashioned monster-movie horror on top of it, and a well put together package. Sure, it's got its flaws, but it's the first time in a good while I've actually had fun watching a movie. That counts for a lot more than you think, and that's why Infestation is worth your time.