Matt Osterman, the film’s writer and director, was kind enough to send me a DVD ahead of the official release date. (As well as a t-shirt. Score!) I of course watched it right away, but had to refrain from talking about it until this week. (The DVD release week.)
Was it all my expectations hoped it would be? Or was it a huge disappointment?
WHAT GHOST FROM THE MACHINE IS ABOUT
The story is about Cody, a big brother who finds himself in charge of his little brother, James, after their parents are killed in a car wreck. Cody spends most of his time obsessively working in the garage on some experiment which involves working on some machine and a lot of electricity. He pours so much energy into it that he ignores both his brother and his friends.
We’re introduced to Tom, who Cody’s referred to when he’s in need of some parts for his gadget that Tom has. In a roundabout way Tom figures out what Cody is up to, and also has first hand knowledge that Cody’s experiment trying to bring back the dead has worked.
Without giving away the plot and spoiling anything, I’ll share my thoughts about the movie.
It started off slow. In that deliberate, story set up way a filmmaker like M.Night Shyamalan is known for.
The first scenes felt a bit stiff and forced. It was easy to see the actors as actors and not the characters they played. The lines seemed memorized and rehearsed, their movements calculated and practiced.
Then the movie started getting really technical as the machine became a character of sorts. There was a lot of complicated dialogue about the machine’s parts and how they worked.
Tech lovers might like it. For me, it was a little over my head. My attention started waning…
Then something happened. The intensity picked up and the suspense sparked. The actors turned into characters. Ones I sympathized with, felt compassion for, and started caring about.
There were a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t just Cody’s parents that came back (well, actually they never did), but he did bring back some others, much to the surprise of unsuspecting people who’d lost loved ones.
The ghosts that came from the machine were not like the typical ghosts from most stories. They weren’t zombies either. They were the people they’d been. They could touch and be touched, laugh, cry, and, most importantly, love –and be loved– again.
But what was odd was that the ghosts seemed to be both residual entities as well as intelligent ones. The ones Cody brought back that inhabited the home he shared with his brother James were not their parents but a super creepy mother and son who’d lived there before Cody’s family. At times they seemed stuck in a loop, yet they were also capable of acting on their own –including terrorizing Cody and James.
I’m not sure I totally got the vision of the ghosts that was presented. Why did some ghosts come back (like Tom’s wife) and others didn’t (like Cody and James’s parents)? Did they want to come back, and had they always been lingering, or did the machine “force” them back? It presented a challenge to the mind, that’s for sure.
Then there was the ending. I don’t want to give anything away. All I can say is I wish it hadn’t ended like that. On the one hand, it was good it reached one of the conclusions it did. But there was another part of the ending I didn’t see coming and, since I was fully invested in the brothers Cody and James by this time, that part of the ending upset me to the point of tears.
Ghost from the Machine was worth the wait. It was as cerebral as I’d hoped it would be, and more intense and horrifying than I expected. But not horror in a blood and guts way. In more of a heart-wrenching, gut check kind of way. It will definitely leave viewers thinking.
Because I was given my copy and was planning on buying one to give away, I now have funds to give two copies away. If you’d like one, leave a comment below saying so. You have until
Thursday July 28, 2011. I’ll draw winning names on Friday July 29, 2011.
**NOTE:** Because Haunt Jaunts was hacked on Tuesday July 26, 2011, the system was shut down for about 24 hours later. When I was finally able to get things back up, I next experienced hosting interruptions in service from July 27 through July 29. Therefor it didn’t give people enough of a chance to enter.
I’m still in the process of fixing hosting problems. I’m hoping to have everything resolved come August 4, 2011, but just in case I don’t, I’m extending entries into this giveaway until Monday August 8, 2011. I’ll draw winners on Tuesday August 9, 2011.
Thanks for your patience and cooperation.