1/20/16

PAY THE GHOST - REVIEW


One of the two films Nicolas Cage starred in last year was Pay The Ghost, a supernatural thriller about a father whose son disappears all of a sudden on Halloween night.

Of course, the film then doesn't try to say anything about loss or neglect like, say, The Orphanage, instead going for a ludicrous horror mystery plot you'd have to be pretty darn high to even consider believing. The film's first mistake, really, was to have Cage running around frantically looking for his son dressed up like a cowboy. If that doesn't suck all the potential drama out of the scene, I don't know what could. Oh sure it's a riot and as a fan of the actor's wackier efforts I'm loving it! But silly stuff like this doesn't help the film much, unless giving us an early hint that it builds up to a truly absurd ending counts as helping.

Now, you could have easily told an interesting, heartfelt story here about a bad father who loses everything but tries to make up for his mistakes in other ways and, for a short time, you kinda think that might be what the film is going for but, soon enough, this father's initial disinterest in his son is completely forgotten and he is quickly trying to convince his wife that their son was probably taken by a pissed-off ghost. She doesn't believe him, obviously (and neither do we), but, in a misguided twist, the movie goes there regardless. As it turns out, get this, every Halloween since a vague amount of time, a Celtic goddess (well, duh!) abducts three children because... reasons and takes them to another realm that's actually pretty easy to reach if you happen to know the right hobo.

Pay The Ghost's third act, as you can see, is particularly taxing but, chances are, you'll give up watching long before that. Probably during the second act lull. The film itself may not be as bad as, say, Left Behind in that Cage himself is pretty entertaining throughout and the story's nonsensical nature is sort of captivating (and there are certainly worse Halloween movies out there) but this is definitely one you can easily skip.

Glad I didn't "pay" to see it.

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