Starring Martin Delaney, Lucy Cudden, Simon Merrells
Directed by Simon Pearce
I’m slowly factoring in some serious equations here lately – with the current glut of zombie movies that have infiltrated our horror screens, I’d have to surmise that the non-specific undead presentation has clawed its way to the top spot as far as how many of those films have been released, followed closely by the “haunted” investigation sub-genre, and as the conveyor belt continues to roll, along comes yet another attempted shriek-fest to speak of (or not).
Judas Ghost, from director Simon Pearce, takes the audience inside a seemingly abandoned village hall to thoroughly give it the once over, in a fact-finding mission that a group of ghost hunters have been sent on by their “institution” (of which we are never really told WHO they are, exactly). Now normally, I’d get a feel for the team that has been sent in to commence testing, whether it be on a like or dislike scale, but here’s the problem – I felt absolutely NOTHING for this particular squad consisting of Jerry, the arrogant leader (Delaney) – clairvoyant Anna (Cudden), cameraman Simon (Merrells), and tech-nerd Ian (Alexander Perkins). Their task is simple – gain as much technical knowledge from their array of camera equipment for the purpose of using it as a teaching video for potential hunters of the future – seems simple, right? Well, not much time begins to tick off of the ol’ clock when the usual (or shall I say unusual) circumstances start to take over inside the hall, leaving the team to question their methods, and resort to some archaic ghost-busting techniques…odd, but moderately effective to watch.
While the malevolent spirits continue to wreak havoc with the groups’ minds, one ghastly figure decides to show its rotted features to all – known only as the “Judas Ghost” (or Goat, for reasons explained within the film). Once he takes over as the focus of the investigation, things roll down hill very quickly, and we see the true meaning of despair wash over the dysfunctional aggregation, sometimes with disastrous results. Unfortunately, here’s where things took somewhat of a downturn – in terms of CGI, the look comes off as less-than-desirable, with a display that would be suited for a Saturday afternoon showing on SyFy or the Chiller Channel, and that’s not to say that it doesn’t work to a certain extent, but there’s so much more that could have been done here to rain the scares down. Looking at the performances, I couldn’t offer anything more than a middle-ground grading – Delaney does an admirable job as the smarmy host of the group, but everyone else looked as if they were locked in some sort of trance with their feet stuck in the mud during the remainder of the film, and aside from a couple of worthwhile scenes, the fright-meter for me failed to reach the halfway point.
I’ll give kudos for the direction that Pearce gave to have the entire presentation confined to one room – gutsy, but overall stalling when there needed to be a little more space between the characters in the slower moments, and while I’m the biggest “anti-found-footage” advocate in the world right now, the camera work here wasn’t as horrible as I’d originally made it out to be, although the nausea medication wasn’t too far out of my reach. In the end of things, Judas Ghost will earn a “one-timer” award from this guy, but if it’s true scares you’re looking for, carry on my wayward son.