Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Big City life has gotten the best of young Alyssa (Marina Resa), that and the fact that her boyfriend Jerome (Jerod Edington) has a touch of the karazay! You know that guy, the one that leaves explosive profanity laced voice mail messages only to softly apologize minutes later, the guy that occasionally chokes other people’s best friends to death or force feeds the one he loves cyanide pills. That guy. I hate that guy. Plus there’s a scene in this movie that indicates my man might also be part ninja. So for a fresh start Alyssa has this universes version of Kelly Services set her up with a house keeping gig in the middle of some calm desert locale where she will dust and do laundry for the lovely Ms. Wu (Shirley To) and her near comatose Aunt Chen (Akiko Shima). The only issue with this otherwise idyllic situation, other than us wondering why these jobless women can’t clean their own damn house, is that Alyssa has arrived at the time the Chinese calendar calls ‘Ghost Month’, where the gates of hell are opened and the spirits run free causing a ruckus. Ms. Wu informs us that most of these spirits are harmless and just want to hang out and look at family members they miss... but some want to kill, torture, maim and if possible have you switch places with them so they can be on earth and you can hang out hell when Ghost Month is over. Guess which ones Alyssa is going to have to deal with for the next ninety or so minutes?

The good thing about Ghost Month is if you follow the simple rules the Ghosts can’t mess with you. Don’t whistle, don’t turn around when you hear your named called and don’t disturb piles of ash. Great information to know… beforehand. Because Ms. Wu didn’t inform Alyssa of any of these rules until well after she broke all of them. And plus if you don’t want piles of ash disturbed it’s probably a good idea not to put piles of ash in front of the doorstop where people tend to walk and silly cleaning girls simply thinks it’s a pile ash that needs to be swept up.

Still, it’s a good job. Sure Alyssa tends to blackout on occasion and gets attacked by evil looking decaying spirits every fifteen minutes, but then who doesn’t have that happen to them on occasion? Eventually Alyssa makes the acquaintance of Ms. Wu’s neighbor, the

mighty odd and hostile and aggressive veterinarian Dr. Blake (Rick Irvin). Something is rather odd about Dr. Blake too in that he lies about reading Virginia Wolfe, he lied about poking the previous housekeeper who has turned up missing, he tends to force his way into people’s homes uninvited and he likes to bury body bags really, really late at night. Other than that he’s good people.

Clearly something is wrong in the desert. The tall and slinky Ms. Wu is lying about something, with this something having to do with her missing brother and the missing house keeper. Doctor Blake is lying about everything, with this everything having something to do with the missing housekeeper. Aunt Chen would be lying about something if she had the ability to speak and the murderous boyfriend is on his way to reunite with his one true love. Alyssa will battle these forces by collapsing in heap every fifteen minutes and acting as stupid as any final girl ever has in any movie ever.

Written and Directed by Danny Draven ‘Ghost Month’ is a strange little horror film, clearly influenced by some of the J-horror films that have floated our way through the years, but it does have its issues, I think, which keeps it from being all it could’ve been. Probably primary among these issues is the character of Alyssa. Not actress Marina Resa because she plays the character well… in fact the acting is probably among the best you will see in a movie of this nature… But Alyssa… We know going into a horror movie that our characters have to do stuff to facilitate occurrences and events but little Alyssa took this a little too far. If you think your next door neighbor is a murderous serial killer, you probably shouldn’t approach this suspected serial killer, late at night, on his property, while he’s holding a pick-axe and has just buried a body. Not recommended. If you find a chest tucked away in a house that doesn’t belong to you and thus the chest doesn’t belong to you, don’t look in it. Sure there was a nice dress in there and no doubt when Alyssa put that cheongsam on, it was talking all kinds of sexy, but who puts on other peoples clothes that clearly do not belong to them? If my furnace repair guy is trying on my Brooks Brothers we are going to have some words. Also, if you find a tucked away crawlspace filled with urns and creepy sounds, don’t crawl in there. Just don’t do it. Lastly, even though there is plenty more, the first time I black out in a heap and am attacked by ghosts I’m outta there. A person who isn’t a bitch like me will probably leave the second time they collapse in a heap and find themselves attacked by ghosts. And then there’s Alyssa who blacked out and was attacked so often that if we had a drink every time it happened we would’ve been shitfaced drunk before the movie ended. And never did she think there was a good time to leave, of course, until it was too late. Come on girlfriend, help me out here.

Clearly Alyssa being a total idiot is a problem considering Alyssa dominates this movie but there are some good things in this movie that do counter Alyssa’s odd behavior somewhat such as the aforementioned fine acting performances, this is a movie loaded with all kinds of atmosphere, the story concept was a solid one and special effects man John Lechago was on his A-game. It’s just that there had to have been a better way to get our main character in and out of the situations that she found herself in. ‘Ghost Month’ wasn’t all that bad but I’m of the opinion with just a little more of a script massage it could’ve been much better.

Real Time Web