I’m now close to being 2/3 of the way through this month long look at horror films leading up to Halloween and I am still further than I would like to be from getting the magical 10 approval stamps on films I’d not heard of before, infact, without looking into it I’d be surprised if I had gotten beyond five yet.
There’s nothing I can really do about it, I pick films at random and sometimes it pays off, other times (the majority), it doesn’t, but there is nothing better than giving a film the approval stamp and it I review ten crap ones to get to one that’s worthy of said stamp then it feels worth it.
That being said, I am watching some right crap recently, so here’s hoping that Ghostline joins the relatively elite list.
Chelsea (Alig) and Tyler (Gold) have moved to a new home just outside of Los Angeles in hopes of establishing an acting career in Hollywood, but neither can get a job. Thinking it’s someone offering him a role Zack picks up an anonymous call from a woman calling herself Ellen. She is adament that Tyler is a man called Eric and won’t stop calling the couple. When they try and investigate who it is they are left with more questions than answers as the telephone network confirms that the number from a ghostline, a type of telephone connection that isn’t connected to a specific number or location. Even changing number doesn’t prevent Ellen from calling still.
The couple enlists the help of Detectives Tanner (Culver) and Starr (Ames), but they become as increasingly frustrated as their attempts to stop Ellen fail. Chelsea and Zack regularly find themselves coming home to find thing that things have moved and in an increasingly aggressive manner. They all start speculating that the disturbance is supernatural as Zack sees someone walking into the bathroom, only for no-one to be in there when he opens the door. This leads the detectives to tell them about the disappearance of a woman called Ellen that suspiciously disappears after last being seen with a man called Eric, the name that the person on the line keeps asking for.
Friends disbelief them but a local paranormal investigation team volunteer to investigate for them and despite initially proving to be fruitless, they do see a poltergeist and it chases them out of the house. A fraudulent exorcist is later killed after antagonising the poltergeist, however, just their hopes dwindle, they find Eric (Little) and come up with an immoral plan to get Ellen out of their lives forever.
Does it get the approved stamp?
No, unfortunately not. Whilst Ghostline makes a effort it ultimately left me feeling what I have felt far too often during the last few weeks and that is bored. There are few things worse than watching boring films, and in many ways I hate it more than watching a poorly made film. There are plenty of films that have been poorly made but are somewhat entertaining because they are so bad (yes, I’m looking at you “Let There Be Zombies”).
People often make the mistake of associating boring with poorly made, whereas they are often completely different to each other, but in the case of Ghostline they are linked.
At 85 minutes long this film overstays it’s welcome by at least 15 minutes and it just feels stretched thin. As Bilbo says in Lord of the Rings “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scrapped over too much bread” and Ghostline often struggles to fill it’s run time, often filling it with scenes that add nothing to the storyline. There was no need for the film to be as long as it is and by the time it reached it’s half way point I was already wanting it to be over.
Pacing is off throughout and you get numerous sections of the film in which a lot is happening (whether it’s interesting or not is another conversation), but then this is followed by long periods of nothing at all. Don’t get me wrong, there is an aspect that is reasonably done and that is the slow build nature of the film and how Ellen’s actions get more violent, but she never actually does any physical damage to either of the main characters, and when you do finally see her spirit form, all she does is float very slowly towards the paranormal investigators….and when I say slow, I mean slow. It’s like a very tedious meander.
The problems with Ghostline start very early on with the relatively unconvincing acting portrayed throughout the entire film and it feels like it is meant be a horror movie intended to have a PG rating, with the exception of two very quick scenes in the final third of the film. Because of this the haunting never feels genuine, everything feels completely fake and even the ghost of Ellen looks cheap, unconvincing, and something that you would expect to see for sale in a costume store somewhere.
My biggest contention with the film comes with the major plot hole and that is that it’s blatantly obvious that ghost-Ellen can see the characters and knows that neither of them are who she is wanting to kill, and yet she keeps torturing them anyway. If someone was as good and righteous as she supposedly is, she’d have given up when she saw that it was obviously not Eric She moves menacing towards paranormal investigators that mean her no harm and there is no justification for it at all. You are meant to feel like sorry for her when her back story is revealed and happy for her at the end, but you really don’t because she’s a bit of a bitch and *spoiler alert* she ascends to heaven at the end of the film, that despite killing two people during the run time of the film, one of whom had nothing at all to do with her death.
Bland horror film with uninteresting protagonists, awful pacing, and an antagonist that they try to make you feel sorry for and fail miserably.
There are far too many problems with Ghostline for it to be even more remotely taken seriously, and I felt bored through the entirely of it’s relatively lengthy run time, which is at least 20% longer than it needs to be.
I can’t think of a single major redeeming feature.
Don’t waste your time.