Everyone loves a haunted house film, but A Ghost Waits is a little different. Rather than going bump in the night, it has a thumping heart and is all the more endearing for it.
Jack (MacLeod Andrews) is a handyman tasked with checking over a house following the sudden departure of the latest in a string of tenants. His ‘friends’ won’t get back to him with a place to stay, so he sleeps on the floor while he takes a few days going over the place. It’s not long until the house’s resident ‘spectral agent’ Muriel (Natalie Walker) makes her presence known. Although freaked out at first, Jack has a job to do - he’s a decent guy despite not having anyone who appreciates it.
Presented in a greyish monochrome that, surprisingly for a haunted house film, doesn’t emphasise the darks as much as the light. This is certainly fitting since first-time director Adam Stovall’s A Ghost Waits isn’t a horror film. It’s best described as a romantic fantasy; it owes as much to Topper and The Ghost and Mrs Muir as it does Beetlejuice. Some shots even have a touch of Bergman to them. Surprisingly, Jack and Muriel hit it off when they begin talk, even though the spirit is adamant that this isn’t what’s supposed to happen.
As well as being amusing, the film reflects on what it is to have an identity, a meaning, and someone in your life. Slight musical interludes are not as out of place as they sound in theory, and the songs are much more haunting than any of the action in the best way possible. The climax may not be for some people, but is deeply emotional and beautifully affecting.