Friday, February 14, 2014

An American Ghost Story – AKA Revenant

Runtime: 95 minutes
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Rating: NR?
Director: Derek Cole

Paul is a writer who convinces his girlfriend Stella to move into a haunted house. Though Stella agrees, she quickly realizes that living in the house is a little creepier than she expected. It doesn't help when Paul tells her the story behind its haunting. The father of the family murdered his children and wife before killing himself. Though some people think that it was the result of a home invasion, he determines through his research that the killer was the father and that no one else was involved.

One night, the door to their bedroom slowly comes open, which freaks Stella out and doesn't really bother Paul. While in the house alone, one of the kitchen drawers slides open. Though she's scared, she tries to keep moving on, but then sees all the doors start opening and closing at once and finds the furniture stacked on top of each other. She is so upset over what happens that she breaks up with him and moves out. Left alone in the house, the paranormal activity heats up and directs itself at Paul.

I have mixed feelings about An American Ghost Story. Halfway through the movie, I looked at my roommate and said, "So this is like a cheap version of Paranormal Activity?" and he pretty much agreed. It's the type of film where you keep waiting and waiting for something to happen, and once something finally does happen, it's nowhere near what you expected. When the bedroom door moved, I literally giggled.

After the first half of the movie, it actually does get better. It almost seems like the character of Stella drags down the film. The director could have cut out her scenes and made the movie entirely about a single man who moves into a haunted house and I wouldn't even realize it. She's really just there to complain about not wanting to live in a haunted house and the house freaking her out. If it bothers you that much, don't live there? Granted, Paul doesn't reveal all the details until they are there, but she still willingly agreed to move into a haunted house.

The one thing that An American Ghost Story has going for it that other films doesn't is that it actually manages to introduce a few jumps. I've seen enough films that I'm usually not jumping off the wall, but there were a few scenes that left me squirming in my seat just because I wasn't sure what to expect. It also had a strong ending. It's the type of ending that wraps up the film and makes you feel satisfied but still gives you that one last jump. Though it got some poor reviews, An American Ghost Story was better than I expected and better than some of the mainstream films released in recent years.

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