Ginger Nuts of Horror
A haunted house film, now there is a novel idea, we have never seen one of those before. It takes a brave director to even consider making one of these films. They still remain popular, however unless you know what you are doing they are so easy to get so terrible wrong.
The Judas Ghost is a brave film, cleverly using a small cast in a locked room scenario this small film relies on tight plotting and in general decent performances for it to work, which is a pity as it falls ever so short of being a good film....
There is lot to like about this film the story for the main part is well down, with a nice twist. Even though we see it a mile before our so called ghost hunter experts. It may not be original, but it is handled well and fits within the logic of the film perfectly.
I liked the nods to other great ghost hunters, our team of hunters work for the Carnacki Institute, it is a nice nod from the writer Simon R Green, and shows that he at least is aware of the stories which precede the film. It's a pity that a lot of the audience won't get this.
The plotting is tight and along with a tight direction keeps the viewer attention firmly front and center. There are no scares as such or if there are they don't really work, which for me isn't a problem, this film is more about the interplay between the characters and the dark secret that one of then carries with them.
The spiritual revenant is handle really well with a good performance from Grahame Fox. Which brings us to one of the reasons why the film just falls short. If you have a small cast of characters it is paramount that you at least have lead actor that doesn't make you want to slap him in the face. I haven't seen Martin Delaney in anything else, but based on this smug and annoying performance I would be unwilling to watch him in anything else.
You don't have to have a likable hero, but what you have to have is one that doesn't come across as a complete tool. His performance really put me off, even when he was trying to be sincere he just came across as a dodgy used car salesman. It's a pity as the other performances are reasonable enough.
However, it's not just the acting that is off putting, there is something about the way the film is shot. For one it is too brightly lit. Some films work by taking the ideas of a ghost story and transposing them to an urban daytime setting, with the horror of coming from it being in a so called safe setting. This isn't the case here, it's as though we are in a haunted TV set for some horrible day glow kids TV show. It makes the whole thing seem unreal, and when they add in some really badly thought out digital darkness the viewer is kicked out of any sense of dread. Whoever was in charge of lighting and set design really should consider taking a new career path.
The Judas Ghost had the potential to be a great film, but it is sadly let down immensely by a couple of key factors.