Review: Ghost Team One (2014)

For Filmink: There are films like the low-budget Ghost Team One – a jumbled film that isn’t sure if it wants to be a movie like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project or if it wants to satirise them.

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Year: 2014
Director: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford
Cast: Fernanda Romero, Carlos Santos, J. R. Villarreal
Release Date: January 01, 2013
Distributor: Paramount Home Media Distribution
Running time: 107 minutes
Film Worth: $2.50
FILMINK rates movies out of $20 – the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth.

With every film genre, there are at least two ways that a concept can be approached. For horror, there are films that are made that follow conventions wholeheartedly, horror films that are scary and daunting. There is also parody, films that mock or subvert genre and that lampoon the conventions that make a horror film, a horror film. Then there are films like the low-budget Ghost Team One, a jumbled film that isn’t sure if it wants to be a movie like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project or if it wants to satirise them.

Opening with typewriter-font intertitles, the film follows Sergio (Carlos Santos) and his sex-crazy roommate Brad (J. R. Villarreal) as they try to impress Fernanda (Fernanda Romero), a girl who believes a paranormal spirit may be haunting their house. Smitten, they agree to infiltrate their house with video cameras and get their friend to be a handheld camera operator for all future “hauntings”. But they soon realise that there is a vengeful spirit of a madam in the house who is both horrible and horny.

The concept driving this film together is sex. By description it’s a raunchy horror comedy but in actuality there are few scares, fewer laughs and even fewer raunchy moments in the whole 84 minutes. The other problem with the film is that it’s spectacularly unoriginal. Sure it is meant to riff off a number of ideas in other horror films, but at the same time it shouldn’t be a cheap alternative montage of these movies all in one as if watching the “greatest moments of horror”.

Furthering the problem is the vision of the film. Rather than be smart in its parody, the jokes consist solely of sex and masturbation, a handful of which are funny while the rest have no comedic punch. Likewise the filmmaker’s approach to horror isn’t consistent, with the audience not sure to laugh or scream at a person’s head exploding, while other moments are scarier than some of the most recent Paranormal Activity films.

In saying that, the film isn’t a complete waste, mainly if you’re satisfied with distastefully juvenile jokes about sex. And given that Paramount Home Media Distribution are releasing it via digital means only, they obviously think there’s an online audience out there who will enjoy such jokes and gags.

Originally published on FilmInk Magazine online, January 7, 2014. 

Watch the trailer for Ghost Team One below:


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