JUDAS GHOST

PrintE-mail Written by John Knott

In the topsy-turvy world of cult journalism, it probably won’t surprise you to know that one comes across a lot of independent movies. Now, don’t get us wrong here; a lot of them are rather good. Not constrained by the mores of mainstream cinema, rules can be daringly ignored and ground fearlessly broken. However, it has to be said that as worthy as these movies can be, those miniscule budgets mean that you have to cut them a bit of slack. Mates of the director might be cast in key roles, FX may be strained to the point of breaking and, we suspect, the on-set catering may have been on the basic side. So it comes as a great pleasure (and a bit of a change) to find oneself watching a thoroughly indie-flick and, by the halfway point, realising that you’d forgotten it was made for next to nothing.

The first thing Judas Ghost gets right is a fairly good story penned by Simon R. Green and based on his own Ghost Finders novels. So we have a team of professional ghost-hunters dispatched from the Carnacki Institute to a seemingly benign village hall to do something about recent weird goings-on. Looks like a simple job so they even have a cameraman in tow to shoot a training film for the new recruits. Of course it turns out to be far from straightforward (otherwise it’d be a bit of a dull movie) and before we know it we’ve got moving doorways, unremitting darkness, buckets of blood, genuine mystery and more mild-to-extreme peril than you can wave holy water popsicle at.

We all love professional ghost/vampire/alien hunters, so it’s off to a good start from the get-go and setting the entire film in one room is, of course, a very clever move when you don’t have the cash to spend. It’s actually a very convincing and specially-built set (in Portishead, of all places) so director Simon Pearce gets the most out of the chosen location with more flexibility than the real thing would provide. But it’s the basics that count so the engaging script and more than capable cast make up for any other shortfalls. Martin Delaney as Team leader Jerry might be on the verge of irritating, but as Jerry is a supremely over-confident egotist who loves the fact that he’s starring in the training film, we think he got this pitch-perfect. He’s exactly the kind of dolt who might just say “we don’t take shit from the afterlife” and actually believe it. And Simon Merrells adds some genuine class as the cameraman with a mysterious past. Horror fact-fans will be fascinated to know he was Benico Del Toro’s brother in The Wolfman (2010). Add a bit of well-judged humour, a nice turn from Grahame Fox as the inevitable and rather well done titular ghost and you’ve got an entertaining movie. Result.

Basically Simon Pearce has done a lot with what he’s got here and while Judas Ghost isn’t actually terrifying, it certainly chilling enough to do the job and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the DVD or getting it from one of the major streaming providers.

Special Features: Behind the scenes / Deleted scenes

JUDAS GHOST / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SIMON PEARCE / SCREENPLAY: SIMON R. GREEN / STARRING: MARTIN DELANEY, LUCY CUDDEN, SIMON MERRELLS, ALEXANDER PERKINS, GRAHAME FOX / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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