Alaina’s Friend Sarah Recommends: “Death of a Ghost Hunter”

29 Apr

What’s this?  Two entries within 24 hours?  What’s with that, you ask?  Well, my roommate is spending the weekend out of town, and, let’s be honest for a second: I don’t really have any other friends in the area I can hang out with (*sniff*), so I may as well kill some things on the TiVo.

Although this title is NOT on the TiVo.  For my readers who have not yet sampled Death of a Ghost Hunter, some background:

Every year, me and a bunch of my college friends descend upon Rhode Island like a bunch of very cool locusts — we are only there for one night, but there is much carousing and shenanigans.  This year, there was Disco Dodgeball!  Well, I was running late (thanks, Annapolis training), and by the time I arrived at the President’s Day Eve party, everyone else in attendance had already watched this gem, discovered by Jennifer on Netflix Instant!Watch: Death of a Ghost Hunter.

Thus, the entire rest of the day — and two months after the fact — my dearest friends who do not live close to me have had in-jokes about excessive timestamping, and … well, that’s really the only joke that stuck. 

[Although, even though I have not yet pushed play on this thing, I have to ask: it won Best Screenplay in something?  I have a feeling I’ll be making fun of that as the night goes on.]

Netflix describes the plot thusly:

A famed ghost hunter is hired to investigate paranormal activity at a house where, twenty years earlier, Joseph Masterson and his family were murdered.

Oh, another thing I should mention before I get too far in.  Yeah, there are a lot of movies I’ve never seen.  Shut up, all of you.  But there’s one genre of which I typically steer clear, and that is horror.  I can’t remember if I’ve listed it (and I’m not opening up another tab to actually check the list, so again, shut up), but I’ve only seen the first twenty minutes of The Exorcist, I’ve never seen Night of the Living Dead or even Night of the Dead Living (wait — that was an episode of Homicide.  That I have also never seen).  Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, the other one that I can never remember … I don’t like horror movies.  I really don’t.  I know the point of a horror movie is to feel uncomfortable and scared out of your wits, but … no thanks!  I really kind of hate them.

So why am I watching Death of a Ghost Hunter, which is squarely in the horror genre, alone in my apartment after midnight with all the lights on?  Because I have been reassured by my stalwart team of friends — AND by an ACTUAL GHOST HUNTER that I met at work this week, HA BE JEALOUS — that it’s not that scary or gory or gross.  And while I don’t like horror, I have gone to see “stupid” horror movies.  Notably, my favorites were Final Destination 2 and The Grudge.  The former, I went with my aforementioned college friends, and I distinctly remember Emily and I standing up, giving the slow clap to the screen after a guy got cut into three equal pieces by a projectile section of barbed wire fence (and in the same moment, Sarah steadfastly refusing to join in or even acknowledge our existence, because she felt we were being assholes).  The latter, I saw with some hometown friends, and I was the asshole that kept telling Buffy to just fight the fucking demon, why is she running when she should be kickboxing the shit out of it?  (Again, Amelia steadfastly refused to acknowledge my existence.)

So I’m hoping that I can add Death of a Ghost Hunter to my Assholey Horror Movie genre.  Game on?  OH WAIT I’M GONNA NEED ALCOHOL FOR THIS.

Oh, right.  I promised Jen I’d timestamp everything.  Heh heh heh.

12:14 a.m.
Alaina pushes play.  And takes a swig from her bottle of premixed margaritas.

Wait a minute — this is a production of Ominous Productions?  Seriously?!  That’s what they decided to name their company?  Oh, god, who’s the asshole that decided that?  *drinks*

In 1982, Minister Joseph Masterson and his family were murdered inside their home.

And then they go to somewhere in Arizona in 1982 and show some woman going out of a house with a stake in her hand WAIT ARE THERE VAMPIRES and then she’s sawing the arm off a guy? and bringing a gun into the house and then drowning a baby and can I just say, Fakest Baby Ever, and then she shoots herself, and guys, have you never heard of white balance?  Why is everything green?

‘Ghost Hunting’ is the process in which paranormal investigators use modern technology to obtain tangible evidence regarding the existence of life after death.

12:25 a.m.
Alaina makes a snotty remark: “Thanks for the definition, Dirk Dictionary.” And takes a swig of her alcohol.

In 2002, renowned ghost hunter, Carter Simms, was offered $5,000 to perform a paranormal investigation of the Masterson House.

Okay, FIRST OF ALL.  You do not need a comma after the word ‘hunter,’ Ominous Productions.  You can just say “renowned ghost hunter Carter Simms.”  Secondofly, why is Carter Simms underlined?  Why?  What’s the point?  And thrice, five grand — that’s it?  That seems kinda lame.  But what do I know — I have a real job.

Her investgation stands as the single most tragic paranormal inquiry in American history. 

Really?  In ALL of American history?  Are you sure?  Surely, someone investigated the Winchester mystery house and ended up dead.  And hey, speaking of the Winchesters, what about Supernatural?  Or when people investigated the Titanic?

It ended with her death.

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.  Hence, the title of the damn movie.

This film is based on the journal entries she made during her investigation.

And then it proceeds into — oh, Jesus Christ. 

12:31 a.m.
Alaina attempted to take a screenshot of the TV with her phone, but sinceshe didn’t want to get off the couch and her phone is a piece of shit and doesn’t have a zoom function, she said ‘fuck it’ and — say it with me now — took a swig of her drink.

Anyway, this Carter person — a girl named Carter?  Okay, sure.  I mean, I once had a character named Toby where ‘Toby’ was a nickname for ‘Elizabeth’ — proceeds to READ THE SCREENSHOT.  Like we’re illiterate.

She narrates something about deciding between taking the coastal route from Oregon to Arizona or taking Interstate 5 or something and holy shit, is this really happening?  I am nowhere near drunk enough for this.  Wasn’t someone supposed to give me the drinking game rules?

She arrives in Arizona and meets the owner of the house.  This whole ‘journal entry’ is intercut with shots of her coming out of the shower, her sitting on her bed in a tiny bathrobe — like, dudes, this is supposed to be a horror movie, not Skinimax — and Seth Masterson making some reference to a movie that she hates that apparently I have never seen, because what movie is “step into the light” from, and why is he speaking in that creepy voice?  And what man whose family was MURDERED twenty years ago would be joking about EVIL POSSESSION MOVIES?

Y’know, in 2002, I was journaling on a laptop.  Why is Carter using a legal pad?  And wait, is she a skeptic?  Is her job to debunk or to prove?  Does she even know? 

This premise is turning into a prime example of how NOT to write.  “Here’s a haunted house.  Let’s call in a paranormal investigator and have her prove that there wasn’t a haunting, and we’ll pay her $5,000.  Oh, but here’s A TWIST: she has to work with a film crew she’s never met before.  How could this POSSIBLY go wrong?”  Jesus.  *chugs*

Also, Dear Director: why are you using such extreme close-ups?  Have you never heard of a mid-shot?  A two-shot?  Why are you up in their nostrils so much?

2:00 p.m.
The investigator stands on the porch and pushes her sunglasses warily onto the top of her head before going into the house.

Wait — she instantly draws a connection between the two stuffed birds in the Random Birdcage and the House, as if they were “stopped in time”?  That ain’t Miss Havisham’s wedding cake, Carter — it’s two stuffed parakeets with no additional meaning.

[If it ends up having additional meaning — I don’t really care, actually.]

3:30 p.m.
Colin Green nearly got kicked in the balls.

Yvette’s kind of a bitch, isn’t she?  Is she the first one that gets killed?  I really hope so.  Because in addition to being a bitch, she’s also a horrible actress.

Mary Young, the spiritual advisor? has a very oily face.  She looks like a bitchier, more pious verson of Tara Reid.

Why does Carter keep talking about the five thousand dollars?  Speaking as someone who has more bills than disposable income — and not knocking the idea of a five thousand dollar payday — in the grand scheme of things?  It’s not a lot of money!  Five HUNDRED thousand dollars, and the plot might be a bit more believable. 

I love the emphatic eating of the celery.  And no, that’s not a euphamism.

Oh.  Carter does call herself a skeptic.  That makes me feel a little better.  A little.  Not much.

This scene is one big info-dump.  Bor-ring.  It’s five minutes of “how to be a ghost hunter.”  Damn, Carter is a bitch, what with her dumping on the videographer.  Are we sure he doesn’t kill her?  And if she’s reading her journals, why is she explaining what she’s doing?  I HATE THIS MOVIE.

I ALSO HATE YVETTE.  Just let the ghost hunter do her job without trying to interrupt and ask questions.  The sooner she gets done, the sooner I get to go to bed and have creepy nightmares.

Why does Mary Young look familiar?  Seriously, she looks like a younger Rebekah on The Vampire Diaries.  But it’s not — and thank god.  I’d hate for there to be a connection between the show of my heart and this piece of crap.

Oh good, everyone feels cold.  Thank goodness everyone feels the same cold and heaviness in their chests.

Oh, is this the part where the religious person gets possessed and starts killing everyone and apparently also gets her period?  What — okay, this is where I go into my “I’m going to bash the shit out of this movie” mode and, much like when I was forced to watch The Evil Dead and my sarcasm forced my friends to turn the movie off because I wasn’t scared enough, tonight’s sarcastic bitch line is: this is going to be the worst PMS ever for you, Religious Girl.

[For those wondering, my Queen Bitch Ass line from The Evil Dead: the girl gets raped by the trees.  She manages to return to the cabin, and then proceeds to turn into … whatever it was, zombie? mass-murdering psycho?  I remember the gang of friends locking her in the basement, and there’s this shot of them all standing up, and no one says anything.  In that silence, from the couch, Alaina proclaims: “Well.  That’s one hell of an STD.”]

What just happened to the chair?  Because I’m going to go with ‘earthquake.’

Question: if the ghosts make sounds that can’t be heard by human ears, why are we spending so much time watching her listen to white noise?

WHOA — Religious Girl turns out to be Racist Girl!  I would have said “saw it coming,” but … duh.  Also, they’re in Arizona. 

Is there a reason why Mary Young’s microphone is turned down whereas Yvette’s microphone is turned up? 


So now, they’ve established Yvette as a druggie slut.  She’s going to get her throat slit.  And that has nothing to do with ghosts and everything to do with being in Arizona.

Seriously, guys — how are you not figuring out already that Mary Young is the baby that didn’t actually drown?  Oh, right, because you didn’t realize that there was a baby that didn’t drown.  Kudos.  CAN I GO TO BED NOW, because I have a feeliing that either the acting’s going to get worse and/or the characters are going to get stupider, or it’s going to stop being stupid and start getting creepier, and I’m not sure I can take either of those options.

Okay, hold on, because I’m totally getting distracted.  So there’s, like, ten minutes of Yvette and Colin acting like whacked out idiots, and then there’s an actual ghost event, where a ghost runs through Carter, and then, she proclaims in complete melodramatic fashion, “She went THROUGH me, and I FELT her.”  And I Tweeted that, followed by “Nice read, Velma,” which is of course a quote from Archer.  And I’ve been scouring the interwebs for a clip of that from “Skytanic,” and of course I can’t find it, but you know what I did find?  Some awesome idiot has taken the virus that wrecks the ISIS computers and made a 57-minute long loop of it.  And I may have used that as background music while I typed up this paragraph (I DON’T REWIND, but I do pause so I can get my thoughts down before moving on to the next thought).  It’s scarily mesmerizing, and I think I just found a new game.

Also?  Totally found the Captain Lammers scene!  [Fast forward to 2:03 for my favorite scene in season one]

Jesus — I have now had the movie paused so much so I could type [read:got distracted by the interwebs] that I could have finished the damn movie by now if I had just paid attention.  But since I refuse to finish watching it in the morning, you’re just gonna have to deal with my insomnia and my distaste of the movie.

Dammit!  Just when I start to get bored with this movie, they go and do the one thing that would make like it just a little bit — they go to town and start slapping the shit out of each other.  What have I been saying for years weeks now?  Face-slapping makes everything better.

Dear Colin: you can’t call it a ‘fist fight’ if people don’t punch each other.  The word you were searching for was ‘bitchfest.’

And seriously, again — who didn’t call that Mary Young wasn’t actually supposed to be there?  And again — not having any preconceived notions about the movie aside from the excessive use of timestamps — we have to know that Mary Young is actually the sole survivor of the Masterson killing.

“I’ma find out about this bitch.”  Jesus, Yvette  Learn to read your line.

HAHAHAHA they taped the chair!  Brings to mind Jen’s wedding when Sarah and Marc were moving the cake but didn’t know where to move it to because there was no tape on the floor.  Ah, theatre.

Oh shit, the doorbell.  And it’s Mary Young.  And she’s going to kill everybody, right?  Seriously, I am falling asleep. 

WAIT — DID HER HEAD EXPLODE?  IS THAT HOW RELIGOUS GIRL DIES?  Because I admit that I’m half asleep as it is, but I get what the helment was for, but the gun was downstairs and not in her hand, right?  Which means that HER HEAD EXPLODED?

Okay — that was cool.

Wait — that was it?  No gore, no … just a quick turn around, a stab to the eye, and then you’re done, dead?  That’s — are you — WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT

So obviously, Mary Young ended up being the killer, and now, let me guess — Carter is waking up and realizing that she is a ghost, and not only that, but she’s stuck in the house that she was investigating?  That’s a fitting end for a ghost hunter. 

And now, I’m going to make a reference to both Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and please know that I hate myself for making the reference: this movie has the same amount of endings as Return of the King, which is the mark of having a bad narrator. 

Also, they can afford the wacky special effects to show her as a Ghost Face, but they can’t afford corn syrup and red food coloring for more blood?  Because when I watch a movie called Death of a Ghost Hunter, I expect there to be buckets of blood.


Many in the Ghost Hunting Community consider the evidence gathered by Carter Simms’ investigation of the Masterson House to be proof of the existence Life After Death… Since the events in 2002, the Masterson House has been regarded as one of the top Ten most active Hauntings in America.  In 2003, holy men from several denominations were asked to bless the house .. It is believed that their efforts were unsuccessful.

You know what was unsuccessful?  THIS MOVIE.  And granted, I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more if I had been playing the drinking game and discovering the badness along with everyone else but … JESUS.

(Good find, Jen.  Good find.)

BigDamnHerosSir: bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha just copy that tweet.  You’ll need it again, I promise.
WillBeFunOrElse: But I may need to emphasize different words.  What the FUCK was that?  What the fuck WAS that?  What the fuck was THAT?

Grade for Death of a Ghost Hunter: WHAT the FUCK was THAT?!


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