Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Luke Ford, Rachael Taylor, Sean Faris
Directed by Chris Hartwill
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
As an avid gamer I’m always on the lookout for the next and best piece of tech. The military is both in possession of and developing some pretty insane shit. Simulations that most of us could only dream about getting our hands on. Of course, when playing, we’re not prepping for situations in which we put our lives on the line, but still. Ever wonder what would happen if something inserted itself into one of those high-tech computers that put together said sims? Something like, say, ohhhh … a vengeful spirit? That’s exactly what happens in director Chris Hartwill’s much better than expected little flick Ghost Machine!
Tom and Vic (Ford and young Tom Cruise dead ringer Faris) are two buddies who work for the military designing computer software that goes way beyond every bit of virtual reality tech that we’ve ever seen. Soldiers are trained on it daily, but the duo wonder what would ever happen if their super PC’s were set up at a different location just for them and their gamer friends to have a good time with. They decide to give it a go but unfortunately pick a spot that happens to be haunted — conveniently — by the ghost of a top computer hacker who was murdered there during an interrogation gone completely awry. Could there be more to this situation than just mere coincidence? Hey, it’s a movie! Of course there is! It’s not long before the ghost is in the program like a spectral virus of sorts and rampaging through all participants, both AI and flesh and blood.
Ghost Machine manages to do more right than it does wrong, and in the end we’re left with a fun, albeit forgettable, little flick. The main problem is that the initial kills begin with a decent sized (CGI) splat, but as the film goes on, it’s apparent that more and more corners were cut due to what I am guessing were budgetary constraints. If that’s not the case, then shame on those involved for layering this one top-heavy! No reason for the violence to tone down as we go along. If anything, each kill should try and top the last. What saves Ghost Machine from total mediocrity is the smart writing of Sven Hughes. This guy knows how to toss a few curveballs into the mix, and as a result there’s more than enough going on to keep you interested and watching.
In terms of DVD special features, mediocrity is exactly where this package is residing. We get your by-the-numbers making-of, an interview with the aforementioned writer, and a trailer. Yep, nothing to write home about here.
If you’re up for a little bit of horror fun that manages to rise to the occasion every now and again, then Ghost Machine should fit your bill quite nicely. Everyone else is better off sticking with their Xbox 360s.
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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