Watching “Ghost Month” kind of feels like it takes that long.
The rather rote horror flick finds young Alyssa (Marina Resa) fleeing an abusive boyfriend and finding work as a housekeeper in the desert home of one Miss Wu (Shirley To), a Chinese woman who lives with her elderly aunt. Little time passes before spooky things start happening around the place, and Miss Wu blames them on the spirit of her former maid.
In the same haunted-house realm of “The Grudge,” that angry specter keeps popping up, in several scenes with scares so telegraphed, there should be a countdown clock in the corner. If one of the ghost’s forms looks like a science-class skeleton with a wig on its head, well, that’s because that’s what it is. The movie has an extremely low budget, some of it going toward some decent computer-animated effects.
“Ghost Month”‘s story is too bare-bones, unenhanced by the Chinese “rules” Miss Wu relates (and from which the flick earns its love-it-or-hate-it title), but its chief problem is the all-around amateur acting, particularly by Resa, who looks and acts like a poor man’s Jennifer Connelly, making for a rather unappealing (and thus, unsympathetic) lead. If Connelly couldn’t keep us interested in “Dark Water,” how could Resa be expected to here?
One can admire writer/director Danny Draven’s persistence in even getting the film made (especially if you’ve seen his marginally better, but still bitter-tasting “Deathbed”), but not the end result. —Rod Lott