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Image Entertainment presents

Ghost Game (2004)

"You got any scary stories we can spook our girls with?"- Randy (Curt Cornelius)

Stars: Alexandra Barreto, Robert Berson, Shelby Fenner, Curt Cornelius, Peter Cilella
Other Stars: Aaron Patrick Freeman, Danielle Hartnett, Eric Woods, Caroline D'Amore, Sahra Silanee, Sarah Shoup
Director: Joe Knee

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:12m:18s
Release Date: 2006-06-27
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C C-C+B- D-


DVD Review

This straight-to-video horror title is a low-budget combo platter of conceptual bits and pieces of Evil Dead, Jumanji and perhaps The Blair Witch Project, and while those are all worthwhile films in their own right, Ghost Game just seems like a pale imitation. There's a remote cabin, a group of college friends, dead witches, a creepy journal and a mysterious game that comes with a hastily scrawled note that says DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME.

As expected, game is played, havoc ensues.

Director Joe Knee alternates the modern day wacky banter of the vacationing college pals with some flashback footage about a trio of very sexy witches who all met violent deaths as they tried to conjure up some sort of powerful spirit. The deep woods cabin just happens to be the same place the witches died, and when the warning is ignored and the game is played, the vengeful wiccans start picking off victims one at a time.

There are plenty of expendable victims in this 72-minute feature, and even though a couple of character deaths occur earlier than expected, most of the horror action moves along a typically timeworn and predictable path. One of the things that I did find somewhat interesting was that the two female leads (Alexandra Barreto, Shelby Fenner) do a decent job of appearing consistently spooked once the deaths started happening, something that is often missing from a lot of low-rent horror films. You know the kind, where people see their friends die horrible deaths, but the next scene has them wisecracking or dropping one-liners. At least here, the girls are weepy and frantic, the way I imagine I would be if a trio of dead witches were trying to kill me.

Ghost Game can be heaped on the towering pile of anonymous horror titles that exists in that vacuum of films that may have had the best of intentions but ultimately end up as forgettable fragments of stuff we've seen before and done better. Yes, there are a few glimmers of decency, such as some dialogue and banter that flows naturally, and actually sounds conversational. Yet a short runtime and a glaring lack of that time-honored horror film distraction of gratuitous nudity renders this one largely ineffective.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Ghost Game has been issued in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, a transfer that is noticeably soft on edge detail. Colors are not particularly vivid, and reds have a tendency to bloom unnaturally at times. The print displays some moderate grain, more evident during scenes with minimal lighting.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Kind of surprising given the low budget nature of the film, but there's a trio of audio options, including Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and DTS, along with the old standby 2.0 stereo. Differences between the 5.1 and DTS are moderate at best, with both providing clear dialogue and a minimal amount of rear channel cues or directional movement; overall volume levels on the DTS track are slightly louder.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The only extras here are an automated photo gallery (05m:44s) and a theatrical trailer, which uses slightly different dialogue than was used in the final version to explain some key plot points.

The film is cut into 18 chapters, with optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

At just 72 minutes, Ghost Game can't be accused of overstaying its welcome, and this stab at being a sort of Evil Dead-meets-Jumanji-meets-The Blair Witch Project doesn't offer much in the way of any real surprises.

Rich Rosell 2006-07-11