“Starring”: Greg Ellery, Kieth Franx, Valerie Hernandez, Victoria Kelly
Directed by: Christopher Kelly, based on the screenplay by his wife Victoria. Yeah. That tidbit's important.
Music Jumps: 9 (I had to count how long it was, not when)
Creaks: 1 door, 1 floor, and for the first time in a LONG time 1 door opened with no creak!
Genuine Creeps: 7
Gross out: 1
Wife survival time: Full Length...because “it was like watching a car crash. You're horrified but you can't look away”.
Kay and I chose this one because we are both foodies. Here is the blurb on the movie:
"Supernatural events begin disturbing the people and affecting the food at an upscale eatery following the mysterious disappearance of a contractor."
There is ONE scene that has food in it. That scene has what starts as a great creep factor, and is immediately ruined by the appearance of albino boa constrictors.
O dear God in heaven where to start with this pile of putrescence?
It is very low budget and the music sounds like a cross between a guitar being dropped and a 70's porno film. It's also very distracting, drowning out the dialogue at times, and other times completely mocking what's happening on screen. In what should have been a serious montage of events made me think of a Looney Toons episode.
It starts off kind of arty, and the director does not know how to use snap cuts. At first I thought it was going to be a “Haunted Dinner With Andre”. Two characters on a date try WAY too hard to segway buying a jacket into their own ghostly experiences. And, of course, what do you do on a date when you mention ghost stories? You wait for the restaurant to close in the middle of the afternoon (?) and break in!
I need to break in with a series of questions: was the baby crying in the background supposed to add a creep factor, or just lousy audio? Or what was with the random scene with no audio at all? Why does Zed the Chef have his own theme music that cuts in and out?
Everything seemed like I was watching an episode of Paranormal Witness with only re-enactments and rationality. These re-enactments are broken up by an awkwardly paced series of flashbacks. The movie would have been immeasurably better had it ignored the owner/manager/prep cook/chef story and started off with the dinner date haunting, and gone straight into the flashback that happened “2 years ago”.
They flashback to "2 years ago" twice within the same flashback, so you think they went back 4 years, but no. They are just trying to clarify that it is still 2 years ago.
Also, there is no explanation why a thirty year old man would hang out drinking with underage twin boys. It's not even addressed. Maybe I'm jaded, but most men who would invite two young boys into a secluded area and get them drunk probably has that episode of Silver Spoons on his mind....
The flashbacks had the most and best creep factors; the flashbacks. Shadow people, weird noises, spiritual harassment, delving into insanity, finally not giving a f*ck, the murder of a paranormal investigative crew....wait? What? Oh, yeah. No explanation on that little chestnut. I should add that to the B.S. list.
I'll go into all the Bullsh*t factors individually because there are a lot of them:
- The contractor at the beginning of the movie goes missing under unusual circumstances (his tape recorder is found with him freaking out on it) and the manager decides to not call the police to report him missing, and instead plays the tape for the staff, telling them to keep quiet about it. CALL THE COPS! If you want to hide something like that, don't tell your entire staff!
- If three people walk into your restaurant, and give no indication that they are anything but customers, would you give them a hard time? Insult them? We as the audience know they are up to something, not the characters in the movie itself. Would you compare them to ninjas? I didn't think it would take a lot of ninja skills to get into a restaurant during lunch hour, but the manager seems to think so, calling them ninjas repeatedly.
- Great date idea: breaking and entering under the cover of afternoon. Did I mention that? It must have been so stupid I forgot.
- Who wouldn't notice an albino boa constrictor on their table?
- I can pee for a long time, but one character should be in some kind of Olympics.
- Character: “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?” Answer: “Because it is”. *clap clap clap*. Bravo. Even though that answer was given in The Blair Witch 2 I bought it, but it's a pat answer and cheats the audience. I didn't buy it here.
- Why the hell does the prep cook get a flashback in the middle of the ending? What does it matter if she ate cookie dough with her mommy while she's getting stabbed. It has no application to the plot.*
- The ending makes no sense, or at least is not explained. How did these ghosts come to be? Why do they hate the living? It's called “Hampshire: A Ghost Story” and there is no story. Earlier in the movie the staff runs rampant with “what happened a long time ago is zombies/demons/monsters/whatever” rumors. Is this foreshadowing? Is the movie telling us these events really happened, when it shows us a progression of storytelling that makes the rumors seem non-applicable or a throwaway joke? Is it post hypnotic suggestion? Where did all the blood come from before anyone was killed? In the beginning of the movie a man goes insane implying he killed a woman. The woman shows up alive at the end of the movie.
SPOILER (If that's possible): The people who die/get murdered at the beginning live. After everyone else is murdered they go back into the restaurant and have dinner.
END OF "SPOILER"
The scares in this movie are legit. It's like they thought through “what's scary?”, and ignored trivial things like plot, character arc, pacing...so while watching those scenes Kay and I both thought it was creepy, but it doesn't sustain the lackluster acting, the inconsistent plot, or even the music.
I want to say something redeeming about this movie, but really it is a complete waste of time. I would watch Uwe Boll films on a continuous loop than watch this again.
I couldn't even be bothered to learn the character's names. I did look this up on IMDB and found some tidbits for you:
The place is a real bistro (and it is in a very cool building). The restaurant closed down right after they finished the movie. It's like the restaurant knew that the movie was an abomination, and ended it's own existence.
The manager of the restaurant's character “Kreese” has his own entry on IMDB. I learned the characters name while looking up the movie. www.imdb.com/character/ch0119242/bio
While watching the credits and looking up the movie I found out that everyone is either related, a neighbor, or friend.
There is a reason Hollywood makes movies. It's because they have the ability to do so. Even when they churn out a stinkburger like Van Helsing, it's still better than this.
Watch it? Not unless you want to fret over getting an hour and a half of your life back.
0.5 ninjas out of 5
* (Found out the reason. It's the directors wife and his daughter).