Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Years ago, Lionel Danforth (M.C. Gainey) was the head minister at East Poly Prep Private School but as a side hustle he started a cult which basically ended up with a bunch of his students being slaughtered to death.  Not that this is going to stop his portrait from majestically hanging on the walls of East Poly Prep.  What is up with that?  Fortunately Danforth and his evil ways were killed off all those years ago, but unfortunately he is now reanimated in a SyFy original movie named 'Haunted High' or 'Ghost Quake' I can't remember which one they called it.  But at this point does it really matter what they call this stuff?

Anyway, Quentin (Jonathan Baron) is a high school student at East Poly about to turn eighteen in a day and he's a little weird.  Still, Whitney as played by actress Lauren Pennington whom the filmmakers stuffed into a schoolgirl outfit digs this weirdo for whatever reason and we will roll with this.  Thing is that young Quentin is hiding a secret and his history teacher Mr. Myers (Ricky Wayne) knows this secret.  We were a little concerned what kind of movie we were about to watch when Mr. Myers lured young Quentin down to the boiler room, but thankfully he just wanted to let him know that he knows that he's Lionel Danforth's grandson.  And he wanted to see the evil gold coins that he inherited for his birthday.  Coins Quentin dropped which made the school go all earthquake like and freed some ghosts.  Call it a Ghost Quake if you will, which makes this High School Haunted.

Right now however the kids are unaware of the ghosts, the few that stayed late for homecoming set design, rock band practice as led by the legendary Griff Furst or those kids that broke into the school to hack the computer and give themselves A+'s.  Soon,
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however, they will all be keenly aware of the ghosts considering Lionel Danforth is running though the halls, cracking one-liners, cackling maniacally and killing everybody he sees.  He also has a razortoothed sidekick in his pet demon acolyte (Misty Marshall) who is handling his dirty work.

The good thing for these kids is that they have Ortiz the Janitor (Danny Trejo) on their side and he's been studying the Book of Evil.  Admittedly from what we've seen he's been studying it badly, but at least he's giving it shot.  His dead sister Marisol (Amanda Phillips) has been trying to help out as well, but she sucks too. 

All Danforth really wants, outside of turning annoying high school students and support staff into bloody goo, is for his grandson to love him and accept his legacy as a demon conduit.  For some reason the kid isn't down with this program, mainly because he's all in love and stuff with his hopeful future girlfriend wedged in that schoolgirl outift.  Ho-hum mundanity shall ensue.

As far as the title is concerned, 'Haunted High' is a little mundane and while 'Ghost Quake' is better, it is stupid so choose which ever one you like the best.  The movie itself, directed by Jeffrey Scott Lando who has helmed a few of these things, while not the worst Sci-Fi Original it was still a fairly run of the mill, mundane, kind of tired affair.  It is a good thing that SyFy has apparently graduated from the dark days of 'Raptor Island' and 'Project Viper' but because of the new focus on semi-competency we rarely get the occasional diamond in the rough like 'Mansquito' or 'Abominable'.  That's a little sad. 

But it's not like 'Haunted High' is awful though.  It was competently acted by most of the cast, though we did believe that M.C. Rainey's school themed one-liners where getting annoying.  Every time a punk that was about to die really didn't require a 'death demerit' or 'death detention' or 'report to the death office' or whatever the hell he had to say.  And if at any time he wanted to stop cackling, we wouldn't have been mad at him.  The effects were better than average, and there was some inventiveness in killing these annoying people which avoided a lot of the outright gore, keeping things TV palatable since it looked like we had lots of FX techs off screen throwing red goo at nearby walls as we cut away from the various dismemberments and head explosions.  And the reanimated zombie formaldehyde frogs were pretty darned funny.   There was also a Charisma Carpenter sighting who had brief cameo as the school librarian, note that we've never seen a librarian look quite like this, and it looked as if she was only in this movie because she agreed to be poured into an inappropriate bookish dame suit that was two sizes too small.  Outstanding. 

Everything else, particularly the story we were being told was just kind of blah and Lando's direction was probably a little too laid back.  There just wasn't an awful lot of excitement in this one, despite the plethora of killing and murderization which theoretically should've given 'Ghostquake' more of a pulse.

Not the worst Sci-Fi Original we've seen, not even close, but when I want to watch semi-competent reasonably well made run of the mill movies, I'll watch Lifetime.   Bring back the risky days when we didn't know what the hell we were going to get on alternating Saturday nights, but we knew it would leave a mark.  Or a scar I guess would be more accurate.
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