Is that a baby or Chucky?
A man dies and his spirit takes residence in his unborn son…
Laura Harring (Stacey) was beautiful in David Lynch’s fantastic MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001) – hell, it earned him a Best Director Oscar nod and put the rock solid and stunning Naomi Watts on the map. And in this 2007 foray, Harring is still beautiful yet gives us a bit more as the protagonist coping with the death of her husband as she struggles to raise their son in South African back country.
But Harring is not alone. Young Thandi (Mosa Kaiser) takes care of her and the town doctor (Pete Postlethwaite) always happens to be Johnny on the spot when crisis looms. Of course, no one (except Thandi and some locals) believes Stacey is seeing her dead husband and that his essence has turned their son into a conduit for murderous violence. And this is where Lamberto Bava’s and Silvia Ranfagni’s story falls way off the mark and completely derails.
Also directed by Bava, the son of Mario Bava of BLACK SUNDAY (Italy, 1960) fame as well as many other Italian horrors, the story seems to play out as a tragic romance turned ugly. However, why did it turn ugly? Stacey and Mark (John Hannah) loved each other very much, and Mark was a kind, funny and passionate man. Therefore, seeing him manifest as an angry spirit hellbent on killing makes absolutely no sense. And once logic is thrust by the wayside, not much else matters.
Worst still, the special effects and art department created a baby that looked and acted like Chucky without hair – though if they had used Brad Dourif’s voice, I would have loved it. Speaking of sound, like most Italian horrors it was awful as if the entire movie had been shot in silence and complete audio tracks were added later. The only thing worse, also a mainstay of Italian horror cinema, was Raimondo Aiello’s hack and slice editing. Why Italian horrors have not nailed these elements down over the past fifty friggin’ years is beyond me. And maybe this is why Italian horrors, except for Michele Soavi’s amazing CEMETERY MAN (Italy, 1994) and Corrado Farina’s enticing BABA YAGA (Italy, 1973), are weak due to over-acting and poor shooting quality. As far as horror cinema goes, it is usually over-rated – and why Dario Argento, Italy’s slightly better version of Ed Wood, is held in such high regard is beyond comprehension.
GHOST SON is no different. And even with some great acting from Harring, Hannah, Postlethwaite and Kaiser, the endeavor does very little to capture the imagination. If anything, it will leave horror fans wondering why the story took such a non-sensical left turn. No doubt, “possession” movie fans will be extremely disappointed.
1.5 out of 5 stars