Ghost Story is a strange bird. I don't hate it, but I don't love it....but I don't like it either. Maybe the correct word is...I am acquainted with it. No, no that sounds mean. Perhaps what I mean to say is that I enjoyed its company, but I'm not sure if I will be inviting it back within the next year. Still though, terrific dead person effects Ghost Story, hear hear!
If you don't know anything about Ghost Story, I think it best to begin with The Chowder Society. The Chowder Society happens to be exactly like The Midnight Society in Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Only it just contains old men that wear fancy suits, who drink brandy and tell stories in front of cozy fires in the fireplace.
Also, Fred Astaire is there except he's really old.
Membership and club meetings proceed the same however--spooky stories are told! So anyways, The Chowder Society holds a deep dark secret and this deep dark secret involves a ghost that is taking its revenge. When Chowder Society member Edward's son dies a mysterious death, the men soon realize that their past may not be as deeply buried as they thought. It's up to Edward's OTHER son to convince them that its time to fess up. But will they fess up too late?
I think Ghost Story has the misfortune of not being spooky enough. When I think of the term "ghost story" I think spooky. Here though, the spookiness is spaced much too far apart. Plus, the spookiness doesn't seem to be taken as far as it should go. That isn't to say however that there aren't thrills. In fact, the thrills seem to outweigh the spookiness as far as I'm concerned. What's the difference you ask? A thrill to me is more like a jump. While spookiness is something that worms its way slowly in and sticks around like the faint smell of burning leaves. Beautiful I know. In any case, Ghost Story is oddly fond of its thrills.
These thrills come in the form of a nasty, drowned, pruney skinned face woman--and boy is she hideous.
The first time it happens you get angry for being tricked. The second time it happens you laugh and pretend that you saw it coming. The third time? The fourth time? You've smash your hand into the wall and scream FOILED AGAIN! It's very surprising and almost seems to be a little advanced for the kind of tone that is displayed in this. Maybe I'm just being old man racist there, but I kind of felt like Ghost Story would be the kind of movie to take its time you know?
There also happens to be a lot of weird confusion happening. Certain scenes develop that don't feel like they are being properly introduced. A good example is the death of Edward's son in the beginning. I wish that had been set up better because the whole time I was confused and bothered. Who is this man? Why is he asking a random naked woman who she is? How did this random naked woman get in his bed? Why is the tub overflowing? It was all very strange. Of course looking back now, it does all make sense and perhaps that was indeed the point and all. Still though, there had to have been a better way to set that up, no? Wait a minute....what am I complaining about? That scene ended in the best way possible: naked free fall!
I tell you, I did not expect to see the penis but there it was.
I do admit to liking the camaraderie between the old men, and the flashback sequence gratifying their youth was pretty enlightening.
Which brings me to another point. Those flashbacks! I understand their necessity what with the whole principle of the ghost and why she is seeking revenge being so important. But for some reason, these flashbacks seemed to have been able to exist as movies on their own! I wonder how the movie would have been had the flashbacks been dispersed in a somewhat even way? As it stands, the film feels very "scheduled". Like there's all these specific time blocks, "this is where the flashback happens" and so on and so on, and because of this, the film feels stunted.
Ghost Story is also one of those movies where the clues to why the ghost is getting revenge are very hidden. It's almost as if we could never have possibly guessed what the situation was until we see the final (and very long) flashback. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it still leaves me feeling like something unfair was committed against me. Could it be perhaps that the story in Ghost Story is not dealt out evenly enough? There was too much back and forth. The son's flashback, the Chowder Society's flashback and then all of the random things in between.
Hmmph. I know it seems like I didn't like this very much but I did at least enjoy most of it.
It kept my attention, which in this day and age is deserving of 5 stars all on its own. I guess I just expected more ghosting. More ghosting and less things that don't make any sense at all. Like the side plot of that crazy goon guy and his weird, childlike friend that wears high heels and is dirty.
By the way, did I miss something there?
Sure, Ghost Story has its moments, and the final reveal of why Eva died in the first place is pretty traumatizing but what about the spooks? Overall Eva just felt too much like a real person throughout. In fact, I wasn't even convinced that she WAS a ghost. I came extremely close to deducing that Eva had somehow survived the accident, found a witch doctor and/or drank from the fountain of youth and now lived perpetually in life as a hot 20 something woman. It totally makes sense.
Except for the fact that she is dead.
Anywho, Ghost Story has its charms but I guess it just didn't charm me....