Ghosts of Goldfield Movie Review

The current trend in ghost hunting (and TV shows inspired by same) seems innocuous enough. After all, if a group of part-time paranormal observers can stumble across proof of the spirit world, why not videotape the evidence and settle the claims once and for all. Of course, the actual results are more like adding faded, fuzzy fuel to an already raging inferno. Naturally, such a commercial concept leads filmmakers to try and follow suit. Take the individuals behind the spook show Ghosts of Goldfield. They hope that a tiny "based on true events" tag, and a lot of talking, will add up to something similar to The Shining. Instead, what they get is a lot of supernatural nonsense.

Working on her thesis, which centers on the seven "gateways" to the "other side," Julie (Marnette Patterson) hopes to find one of these proposed passages at the old Goldfield Hotel. Located in a god-awful ghost town in the middle of nowhere, she is bringing along her boyfriend Mike (Richie Chance) and a production crew including cameraman Chad (Kellan Lutz), soundman Dean (Scott Whyte) and his skittish gal pal Keri (Mandy Amano) to help with the investigation. Naturally, they run into an old-timer with a tale to tell -- in this case, a menacing bartender named Jackson Smith (Roddy Piper). He then spins the story of a spirit named Elizabeth who roams the rooms at the old inn, seeking revenge on the man who murdered her. As the crew settles in for the night, they soon realize that the specter is haunting them. And with a doorway to the supernatural settled in the hotel's basement, all unholy hell is about to break loose.

If boredom were suspense, Ghosts of Goldfield would be the scariest movie since Regan MacNeil started spewing pea soup. This yappy, overlong snoozefest tries to use conversation to build character and a sense of dread. Instead, all we witness is a cast carried away with pointless dialogue and endless exposition. As the efforts of flummoxed first-timers Dominic Biondi (screenplay) and Ed Winfield (director), this is the most inert a movie can be and still be considered a "motion" picture. Sure, there's some skeezy sex between two baffled players and the constant flashbacks suggest a poorly recreated episode of Dark Shadows, but that's as close as we get to actual entertainment. The rest of the time, it's all mock doc filming and badly edited spook reveals.

Not that there is much that could be done with this material. A vengeful poltergeist is so 1985 that even today's moviemakers are smart enough to give the entire genre a much needed Asian makeover. Here, Winfield tosses ex-WWF icon "Rowdy" Roddy Piper at the camera and hopes fans will forgive his less than forceful presence. Elsewhere, Ms. Patterson puts on the chambermaid garb and gives it her talent-challenged turn of the century try as the representation of her dead grandmother. It's all a big shoulder shrug when it comes to fright -- no teeth and definitely no excitement. Granted, haunted house tales are hard to handle anyway, their creaky floorboard foolishness barely translating to a hipper, more cynical contemporary crowd, but this film doesn't even try. Even the title terror is more of a battleaxe than a banshee.

Because of its found location elements (the hotel itself is nifty in its period piece presence) and the overall attempt at atmosphere, fright fans may be tempted to take a gander at this meandering macabre title. But be warned. Ghosts aren't the only thing unsettled in Goldfield. Almost everything about this movie is dead or dying.

Cast & Crew

Director : Ed Winfield

Producer : Debra Isaacs

Starring : , Marnette Patterson, Mandy Amano, Scott Whyte,


Comments

Ghosts of Goldfield Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: R, 2007

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