Films fail for lot of reasons: underdeveloped characters, poor performances, bad writing – there’s nothing strange about a film hindered by one or more of its attributes. What is uncommon, is a film that is so utterly lacking in every single capacity that one questions the point of its existence entirely. Ghosthunters is one such rarity.
The story follows eleven year old recluse, Tom Thompson, as he learns to overcome his fears in order to defeat an ancient ghostly evil. Actually, the name of the lead character gives an excellent indication of the imaginative scope of the film as a whole. Tom must team up with a recently suspended ghost hunter and an “averagely spooky ghost”, forming a mismatched trio that must overcome their differences if they are to have any success against the “ancient ice ghost”.
Yes, this is a children’s film and it must cater for its demographic, but the fact that it is targeted at a young audience does not justify its patronisingly immature content. In fact, even the six year olds in the auditorium gazed at the screen dubiously with a facial expression that seemed to ponder “but Mother, why do so many of the jokes revolve around snot?”. The story itself is lazy, hackneyed and offers nothing original. The Ghosthunters’ headquarters is a replica of the Men In Black offices, access to which is gained through “counter twenty-five and a half”. Everything in the film is either borrowed or clichéd. The “averagely spooky ghost”, Hugo, is just Flubber that someone has made to sound like Keith Lemon. What kind of person would do that and why?
The feature is originally German and, to be fair to the filmmakers, it may be the case that it works better in its original language, and possibly loses a lot of its humour in translation. What’s more is that for some reason the film is dubbed over by its original cast, most of whom – having English as a second language – deliver their lines laboriously. It must be very difficult to retain the core essence of a movie after it has been remoulded from its original language but, regardless, the CGI ghosts are badly designed, the characters are pretty shallow, the plot drags languidly, the editing breaks apart any potential for effective comedic timing; the list goes on. A much shorter list would be the film’s positive qualities. It has a nice, wholesome underlying message: the power of friendship, the importance of facing fears and of discovering self- confidence. Also there are a couple of big tunes in the soundtrack.
Think of some 90s equivalents like Casper or Ghostbusters, films that had beautiful stories, were excellently made and brought endless joy to a generation. If those films are diamonds then Ghosthunters is a smaller, inferior, very nearly plagiarised version of those diamonds.
Ghosthunters is released nationwide on 2nd October 2015
Watch the trailer for Ghosthunters here: