Horror Releases: Ghosts of Darkness (2017) - Reviewed

I struggled at first to take a title like this seriously, but once I watched it, I was not pleased with myself for denying myself the highly entertaining pleasures of this supernatural horror.

Ghosts of Darkness, also known as House of Shadows, was shot in the beautiful desolation of the Scottish Highland, where they used Ardgour House as their setting for the film’s intimidating location, Richmond Manor.

Richmond Manor has the reputation of a Stephen King hotel room we all know, according to the mysterious gentleman who hires the two main characters. The synopsis, as per producer Lorraine Keith, sums up the basic plot, but the film buds to so much more.

Two paranormal investigators are unexpectedly thrown together in the hope of solving a 100-year-old mystery. Locked for three nights in a house with a dark and unsettling past, the two investigators must put their differences to one side and work together. Skepticism and showmanship are soon put to one side when the two investigators realize there is more at stake than just their professional reputation. For once, they have stumbled onto the real thing, but this time it is their own lives at stake.


They are hired to debunk claims of the manor being haunted, and this makes for a nice twist in the recipe – and then some.

As the two leading characters meet, you immediately know this is not the typical morose attempt at horror. In fact, the entire film is carried by these two men alone and they make a successful task of it. 

Cynical Jack Donovan (Michael Koltes) is a stick-up-the-ass paranormal investigator, hell-bent on debunking psychic frauds at all costs. His reluctant partner in the challenge, Jonathan Blazer (Paul Flannery), is his polar opposite – a jovial, but annoying psychic with a boyish sense of humor. 

Directed by David Ryan Keith (The Redwood Massacre, Attack of the Herbals), Ghosts of Darkness is his third venture into the genre, but unlike The Redwood Massacre’s slasher vein, this is a delightful slow-burn adventure into a climactic supernatural horror. With a gory introduction, the film swerves toward a haunted house mystery that is far from boring.

Several elements of Ghosts of Darkness makes it interesting, well-paced and credible. No jump scares try to distract from the creepy ambiance of the unfolding frights in dark corridors and creepy basements of the Scottish manor. Much like intriguing '70s horror series like Circle of Fear and Hammer House of Horror, this film does not rely on gratuitous swearing or forced nudity to keep the viewer occupied. 

Instead, Mr. Keith employs a different, humorous approach to his dialogue that establishes a liking in his characters while we accompany them towards the more frightening last half of the film. For one, the charming Paul Flannery’s comedic delivery hits in all the right places, while Michael Koltes plays the stiff and derisive Jack Donovan well, although a bit too unlikable.

With excellent make-up effects and a remarkably good execution of CGI for the ghosts and demons, the film manages to deliver a plot, some drama, great light-hearted quips and some damn creepy denizens of the dark! 

 --Tasha Danzig