Taking a different tact than recent haunted house epics like The Conjuring, Paranormal Activity and Sinister, the lead character in An American Ghost Story actually knows that there is something going on in the house he moves into. In fact, that is his exact reason for wanting to reside there.
Feeling unfulfilled in his life, wannabe writer Paul Anderson is determined to chronicle his adventures living in a haunted house. So when strange occurrences do start to happen in his new dwelling, he is pleased. His no nonsense girlfriend Stella (a solid, very personable Liesl Kopp) is less than thrilled, though. She becomes even less delighted when Paul quickly grows tired of the mild poltergeist style activities that the two are experiencing and becomes obsessed with meeting the murderous entity that supposedly skitters throughout the rooms of his current abode.
Working with a slow boil from Stephen Twardokus’ very simple yet natural script, director Derek Cole builds some believable tension here. Cole seems to empathize with the character of Anderson, played with effortless understanding by Twardokus, and builds his descent into frustrated ambition with ease. Therefore, those looking for a quieter character study with scare elements, more than an out and out horror film, should find much to enjoy with this work.
Cole does deliver on the fright front, though, skillfully managing to turn a simple bed sheet into an object of deadly menace on more than one occasion – a considerable feat. Even the predictable shock ending, reminiscent (in effect if not execution) of everything from the final moments of I Know What You Did Last Summer to John Carpenter’s The Ward, doesn’t leave a cinematic smudge on what has occurred before it.
An American Ghost Story will be released on DVD on August 20th (2013) from Breaking Glass Pictures.
Big Gay Horror Fan, meanwhile, is decidedly avoiding all unworldly entities in his apartment complex at http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan!
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!