Village halls are not quite what they seem!
Between this world and the apparent next world – a ghost hunting team is sent to an old town hall, where supernatural activity has been recorded taking place.
Judas Ghost is written by Simon R. Green, and directed by Simon Pearce.
The movie explores technically, the scary side of violent supernatural forces and its destructive power. It is about a group of ghost hunters who seem professional enough, just like any other you may have watched on your television. However, this is no run of the mill investigation – with shaky camerawork, and a paid peculiar psychic in tow hamming it up for the cameras. Invariably, this ghost team are the ones being hunted instead – by the sinister ghosts and evil spirits that lurk under the floorboards and outside the town hall in the thick darkness.
Judas Ghost did have touches of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity about it; nevertheless the movie does have a unique style of its own.
The whole filming for Judas Ghost takes place in one location, the town hall, except for a few flashbacks scenes. So it is an immense challenge to make a movie in this restricted style. Added to that the movie only had a budget of £200,000, leaving you to realise that director, Simon Pearce has somehow managed to utilise all of his tricks and clever craft to motivate this indie horror into something special.
His application of visuals and numerous hi-tech gadgetry was used to fine effect. It just goes to prove that the magic of technique, when used properly, can create a great intensity.
And so to the beginning of the film, the first scenes involve the ghost hunting team bantering and sparring with each other – sometimes with arrogance, sometimes with humour, and sometimes with an unsettling naivety. Next they observe a few hand drawn children’s crayon pictures stitched onto one of the town hall’s walls.
The lead character Jerry, played by (Martin Delaney) remarks: “Maybe the kids are on Ritalin!” You can tell immediately in Jerry’s tone of voice that he has a forthright disdain for the institute which has sent him to this boring place – he seems arrogant to the whole proceedings, thinking himself above this low-down assignment.
And so we ask, who are the ‘institute’? That seems to hover in the underbelly of Judas Ghost’s plot.
Well the ghost hunting team are working on behalf of this shady research organisation. We never really know what its real motives are. Are they behind everything being created? Is it a set up for some kind of perverse psychic experiment where human life is expendable? I leave up to you to decide.
As the plot deepens Mark, played by (Simon Merrells), gives a tentative and edgy feel to proceedings; a former psychiatric patient and employed by the institute, he was involved in a prior ghost hunting investigation that went wrong – leaving all of his former colleagues dead. I personally never knew which wavelength he was on.
There is an array of computer and camera spirit hunting equipment on display in this movie – all positioned on a manoeuvrable large steel black box. The controller behind them is Ian, played by (Alexander Perkins), who duly makes assessments and panics when things go wrong. Being a bit of a technological geek myself I felt he portrayed his role with instinctive ease.
To add some glamour we have an attractive psychic thrown into the mix called Anna, played brilliantly by (Lucy Cudden). She interacts with her co-stars with a smart charm. She also manages to draw you, the viewer in with her – mainly due to the disturbing psychic images plaguing her mind. These unsettling clairvoyant visions strengthen as the movie progresses, which in turn causes Ian’s computer gadgetry and cameras to malfunction periodically and spark up with interference
Next in the plot we are presented with the appearance of a door in the town hall. But this door does not exist in the real world. The door seems to lead to another gateway, an opening to a dark spirit world. In one instance Jerry, the lead character, forces the door ajar and shoves his hand into the darkness – but to his horror his hand becomes drenched in blood, causing terror to upstream and kick start everyone into panic.
According to the ghost hunting team there are three types of haunting. One stage is ‘Poltergeist’. the second stage is Exorcism and the final and most disturbing stage is the ‘Beast’. This proves to be the most alarming paranormal activity that anyone can encounter. And with this word Beast staying in my mind, the apprehension of what will happen next in Judas Ghost crept onto me with an unsettling resonance. Not helped I hasten to add by the characters so-called game plans to repel the dark suffocating evil – which envelops them. The director, Simon Pearce, made this evil darkness have a thick claustrophobic feel to it, which I found quite oppressive and scary.
Judas Ghost’s other scares are the various unexplained cold spots, the iced breaths, the salt magic protection circle, the use of the exorcism ritual, the appearance of bloodied dead bodies – and a bald blood-spewing ghost. Thus increasingly, you’ve got the ideal ingredients for a fearsome movie.
And so with my review coming to an end I must say that Judas Ghost is a good film. It’s adequately made and worthy of a viewing for anyone wanting something slightly more inventive – and slightly more engaging than other ghost hunting horror movies doing the rounds at this point of time.