Horror films come in all shapes and varieties, from hits based on famous novels to movies so bad they become cult classics. Although most audiences look to the major studios and theaters, I always say the indie scene is where you can find some of the best films.
Sadly, most viewers either ignore, or are ignorant of, indie films and miss some fun movies. So, consider this the first of several articles offering reviews and suggestions from the lesser-known side of Horror cinema.
Which brings me to tonight’s movie: 2013’s America’s Most Haunted.
The premise for this movie is solid: a paranormal investigation show, which has faked much of its encounters, ends up facing real ghosts. Although we’ve seen this concept before, America’s Most Haunted adds more of a comedic take.
In fact, it’s that comedy that saves this film, as there’s a very low-budget indie feel to the rest. At times, the acting and cinematography felt like I was watching a late-night softcore. Except without the actual porn.
Not to say the overall acting was as bad as something you’d find on Cinemax in the wee hours. Brad Norman and Brittany Risner both gave good performances, as the “dickish” Leon and the “token hot chick” Emily, respectively. David Gries was also decent, although I felt his character was underutilized.
Joe Anderson, Jimmy Meritt, and Dave Lyzenga’s acting chops were a bit less refined, but they added the best comedy and one-liners that carried the film. In fact, a salute to Mr. Meritt for one of the best lines in the entire movie, so amusing I even showed the scene to my wife:
The rest of the movie is a bit more haphazard, both story, acting, and effects-wise. The CGI is questionable at times, although the final ghosts impressed me. I also think the movie veered off when it tried to take itself too seriously, with the comedic elements feeling out-of-place at that point.
I did appreciate the fun plot twists toward the end that Chris Randall threw at us. Unfortunately, I think their execution through flashbacks fell a little flat; or that could have been the acting of the remaining cast.
Still, for a low-budget indie movie, something was charming and amusing about this experience. I smirked, I chuckled, and I even jumped at one scare. Not every film can be the next Ghostbusters, but I will always appreciate some fun horror-comedy.
I give America’s Most Haunted 3 ghost bursts out of 5.