The Ghosts of Edendale Review
By Christopher Null
With recent Hollywood flicks like The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill, it seems like the ghost story may be experiencing a resurgence. Unfortunately, today's audiences are too gore-friendly for ghost stories to have much impact any more -- and screenwriters haven't been able to come up with an original approach that makes it work, either.
Writer/director Stefan Avalos revists the genre with The Ghosts of Edendale, a digital video feature that's hit and miss. Avalos's first mistake is to set the film in Hollywood, with all of his characters in "the business." Dozens of film industry cliches are rigorously run through before we get to the actual plot: Couple from the east coast (Paula Ficara and Stephen Wastell) move to L.A. to start a new life. Rachel (Ficara) is a model trying to become a writer. Kevin (Wastell) is, um, also a writer.
They move into a hilly community where everyone's kind of creepy. Eventually Rachel starts seeing things -- ghostly children and men on horseback -- while Kevin slowly becomes an asshole. Is some strange force causing all this? And could it have something to do with an old silent film western star who once lived in these parts? Rumors abound. Answers do not.
The film belongs to Ficara, whose ability to carry a difficult and half-written role is impressive beyond her amateur rank as an actress. Her ability to emote and seem genuinely terrified -- when the film is really not scary at all -- carries the other actors (some of whom are absolutely awful) through the movie.
As for Avalos, this is a middling effort with a rather stupid story and above average execution. Perhaps his biggest feat is in getting Warner Brothers to acquire this film for DVD distribution. We see a lot of movies like this at filmcritic.com, but they rarely have a major studio's label on them -- or any labels at all, for that matter. Well done, buddy!
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Wednesday 19th February 2003
Production compaines: Mixville 02
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 1
Cast & Crew