because you’re a ghost, doesn’t mean you can’t be haunted too. For Emily, “haunted” is not exactly the right
term. Her situation is rather more complicated
and creepy as all get-out in H.P. Mendoza’s I
Am a Ghost (slightly
too revealing trailer here), which screens during the 2012 Asian American International Film Festival in New York.
existence is one of strictly regimented routine. Unfortunately, this also includes regular
instances of self-abuse. The audience
knows this because we see her repeat the same day over and over. It might sound laborious in an indulgent
experimental kind of way, but stick with it.
When deviations from the pattern start to emerge, they are significant
is a ghost, endlessly repeating the tragic memories she imprinted on the spooky
old Victorian house, or at least that is what the disembodied voice tells
her. Understandably, that is not
something she wants to her. Yet, Ghost is just getting started. Emily has some rather wicked revelations in
store for her.
Ghost, Mendoza might actually break
new ground in the field of horror films.
It is really nothing like his previous films, Colma and Fruit Fly, since
it is not a musical—not even remotely. Frankly,
Mendoza risks trying viewers’ patience, but he pays off their tolerance with
some of the most disconcerting scenes of supernatural dread to hit screens in years. In fact, the scares in Ghost are so unusually deep, because they are more metaphysical in
nature. Mere violence is small potatoes
here. However, it is difficult to explain
how novel and challenging the twists and turns truly are, without getting
is safe to say Ghost is a very cool
example of how a chillingly effective genre film can be produced with hardly
any special effects. Aside from maybe
one sequence, Ghost relies solely on
its lead performance and the moody atmosphere of the fateful house, overstuffed
with evocative curios, masterfully rendered by art director-prop designer (and
producer) Mark Del Lima.
it is Anna Ishida carrying the picture more or less alone as Emily. It is quite an extraordinary performance,
covering the entire dark side of the emotional spectrum, with only an
off-screen voice for support.
definitely has the stuff of a cult classic that ought
to be a breakout film for both Ishida and Mendoza. It is smart, original, and unsettling. Highly recommended for fans of ambitious
horror films, I Am a Ghost screens
this Friday (8/3) at the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas, as part of this year’s
Labels: AAIFF '12, Ghost movies, Horror Movies, HP Mendoza