Something magical happens when a movie with a noble budget is equipped with an above average team. Regardless of what one might say, this second class of horror movies has trouble keeping us on the edge of our seats during moments of suspense. The Ghosts of Edendale utilizes this inconvenient to its advantage. It is usually easy to guess when a horror movie will make us jump if we follow the film’s pace, music, silences and panoramic camera movements. This film, however, succeeds in inserting surprises in the most unexpected moments. I must admit having jumped twice during the film; just as if I had been slapped!
Stefan Avalos, author, director and editor, also known for The Last Broadcast, is very ingenious. He knows how to scare. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to know how to follow a good rhythm. It is plausible that he knows this fact and is proud to steer away from the norm but this marginality causes long moments and false expectations. In my opinion, the best moments should be strategically dispersed throughout the film. This strategy is absent from the film. If you surprise the viewers early in the film, you must assume the consequences. For every action there are reactions and that is why most conventional horror movies keep the best for the end.
Rachel and Kevin’s characters are well defined and make a nice couple. It is very effective because we are affected as soon as the latter becomes mysteriously distant and their relationship degrades. Paula Ficara plays Rachel and Stephen Wastell incarnates Kevin. For newcomers, they are really good (as opposed to the supporting cast who try their best).
The visual effects are gripping. Once again, one must position oneself according to the budget. Don’t blink or you’ll miss them, which doesn’t mean that they lack effectiveness. As for violence, it is practically absent, as with most ghost films. I noticed abuse concerning close-ups. It is like every object manipulated by Rachel, each door she opens, each footstep has its importance, even though nothing relevant happens.
The similarities with The Shining are obvious. The film contains its share of clichés but revitalizes the déjà-vu in its own way. The Ghosts of Edendale deserves to be seen: it is dark and intriguing.