Ghost Town (2009)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Billy Drago, Gil Gerard, Jessica Rose, Randy Wayne, Elize du Toit
Directed by Todor Chapkanov
You know how a lot of horror films open with a famous quotation that corresponds to the theme of the film? The makers of Ghost Town should have dug up a quote about the pointlessness of existence because their movie exists for no purpose and achieves no other goal than to provide Syfy with two more hours of worthless filler.
Billy Drago gets top billing despite having a minor role and half dozen short lines of dialogue. Basically, he's there because he's an intimidating looking guy who can sneer on cue. Drago's Reb Halland is the ringleader of a posse of satanic cowboys. After Halland's gang guns down every single citizen of the tiny Wild West town of Hope Springs, (As in the "hope springs eternal". "Eternal" as in how long this movie felt like it lasted), the gang commits ritual suicide by standing in the points of a pentagram and gunning one another down.
We know they are satanic cowboys because preacher Gil Gerard (star of the old "Buck Rogers" TV show) tells us so. All we ever learn about what motivates these satanic cowboys comes when Gerard tells Halland, "Your dark arts will not grant you the immortality you seek." I am seriously hard-pressed to think of another movie in recent memory that put so little thought into the villains. Halland is the only one that even gets a name or gets to speak. These satanic cowboys seem to exist solely because without them there would be no film. Even with them there is not much of a film here.
Jump forward to modern times; a busload of students breakdown in the ghost town that once was Hope Springs. Phones can't get a signal. Watches stop. Everything about the town appears stuck in a time warp leading them to believe they have stumbled into a Wild West replica tourist trap. Oh, it's a trap, alright. Reb Halland and his unholy posse still haunt the ghost town, going back and forth between being visible and invisible while simultaneously going back and forth between looking human and looking corpse-like, all at the whim of the possibly confused director.
Potential victims include members of the school debate and ice hockey team. It would have been so awesome if the debate team defeated these unholy cowboys by filibustering them back to hell. Their astute math skills will come in handy since numerology plays such a big role in deciphering the situation they are in. What really comes in handy is finding an old journal that just happns to explain everything they need to know right down to the instructions on how to properly place enchanted totems around the town to ward off evil. All they have to do is find where the last totem was hidden before time runs out or the audience grows so bored they change the channel.
The most important student on the bus is actress Jessica Rose (AKA "lonelygirl15"). Her mom is Wiccan and that automatically makes her an expert when it comes to all things supernatural. That she doesn't look like a goth or act goth doesn't stop fellow students from taking turns calling her a freak. When she tries to calm another student flipping out after finding another student dead, the guy yells at her, "I don't live in the freaking Addams Family like you! This is not normal for me!" Instead of ragging on her for her mom being into witchcraft they should have asked her why her voice kept slipping into a New Zealand accent.
Ghost Town doesn't really work as a slasher or a ghost movie and since it is not the slightest bit spooky let along scary so I hesitate to even label it a horror film. It doesn't work as a Western either. It doesn't work as anything really. Not exactly sure what the filmmakers were aiming for other than it being quite apparent they were aiming low.
1 out of 5
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