New Horror Releases: Ghosts of Darkness (2017) - Reviewed

Available now on VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment is the new ghost hunting horror film Ghosts of Darkness. Its tagline proclaims that it is “A new breed of ghost hunter,” when in reality it features many of the typical ghost hunting tropes that have come to be expected. The newness may simply be because it was produced in the UK, as opposed to the scores of popular horror motion pictures coming out of the major US studios. While Ghosts of Darkness does exhibit moments of great potential, mainly from co-writer and co-star Paul Flannery, it never goes further than being a low budget indie horror movie attempting to capitalize off of the success of The Conjuring, Annabelle, and similar productions.

The story is about a pair of ghost hunters who are separately summoned to an old house with a dark and deadly history, in order to prove that it isn’t haunted. They obviously discover that there is something sinister within the walls and must fight to eliminate these forces in order to survive. As mentioned above, it pretty much follows the format of most ghost hunting pictures that feature a team. The main difference is that this team only consists of two men, taking on more of a buddy cop duo than the standard team. There is light comedic banter that is supplied from Flannery, a comedian who is best known for his cult TV show Nightmare and the stage adaptation Nightmare Live.

One of the bright spots is the beautiful mansion where the movie was shot at, which is the Ardgour House located in Scotland. The exterior of the building and the lush greenery that leads up to the house makes for some stunning outdoor visuals. Most of the interior locations contained old furniture and other items that created an interesting environment, while other rooms felt dull and unappealing. The director delivered some good tracking shots and camera movement; however there were times when it appeared that he was using the same tilted camera angle repeatedly. There were obvious lighting and color issues at the beginning in certain in-door sequences that were either due to lighting issues in specific rooms or time constraints. The score is what you would typically come to expect from the subgenre, featuring an orchestral score that makes use of strings and other high pitched sounds. The major issue, as with many other pictures, is that the music drowns out the dialogue and becomes a constant and annoying distraction.

Another positive is the performance from Patrick Flannery, appearing in his first feature length film. Flannery plays the dapper dressed Jonathan Blazer, a psychic medium who looks like he could portray Johnny Depp in a biopic about the actor. He is a major factor in what makes this watchable, exhibiting a comedic side that is current and a certain disposition that could easily place him in the Hammer Films from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Flannery should have a bright future and this is a character that could even be reprised in some sort of fashion.

Horror fans seeking out extreme violence will be sorely disappointed. There is only a mild amount of violence and blood, with most of the horror devoted to cheap jump scares and outdated special effects. It is more comedic than it is scary or violent and the effects are downright laughable, resembling something that might have come from a 1995 video game.

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Ghosts of Darkness is nothing more than average, never choosing to push any boundaries. The scares are never truly scary. The comedy is never gut bustingly funny. The violence and gore never make you feel queezy. It is only recommended for fans of the ghost subgenre that seek out any and all motion pictures about the subject matter.

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