San Diego Asian Film Festival 2012 — I Am A Ghost

i_am_ghost

Reviewed by Alicia Glass 

Studio: Ersatz Films

Director: H.P. Mendoza

Review Rating: 9

Emily is a ghost repeatedly haunting her own house, unable to leave, and with the determined help of a clairvoyant, delves into the mystery of her past to try and move on.

It’s very hard to do a review on this underrated gem of a film without giving away spoilers of all sorts. Done in a very different style, somewhat similar to Memento with scenes being repeated with only the slightest variations, the film manages to grab that style of ratcheting-up tension and makes the entire audience hold their breath in anticipation of the next change, rather than allowing boredom to set in. After all, repeated actions, even with the slight variations, often lead to ad nauseum – not in this case. The film technically only has 3 actors, and one of them is just the disembodied voice of the clairvoyant trying to aid Emily. The house is very Victorian and so is the style of Horror, at least in the beginning: prim, proper, determined to do whatever needs to be done and damn the consequences. Yet as the movie progresses and we learn the real horror behind Emily’s predicament, after coming to sympathize with what we know to be a ghost already, that just makes the Villain that we all know to be coming extra worse. When a ghost can be that terrified, the audience begins screaming, and boy did they. Few movies out today, including ones done in the gothic Victorian horror style like The Woman in Black, can achieve this level of tension and keep it going right til the very end of the movie. And what an ending, wow. Often in the theater viewing of Horror movies these days, the only reason Moxie jumps is because other viewers near her are screaming. Not so in this case, oh not at all. Just goes to show that no director needs huge sprays of blood, torture porn, or specialized-weapons-wielding supervillains to make a damn fine romp of a Horror flick. What Director H.P. Mendoza offers us is the beauty of something simple and completely underrated these days: a story that whittles away at the audience til the climax that will give any true Horror fan what we call a Horrorgasm.

Anna Ishida is Emily the ghost in the film, and gives a performance that director H.P. Mendoza made, because of his amazing storytelling and filmmaking, so completely memorable. Jeannie Barroga is the disembodied voice of Sylvia, the clairvoyant trying desperately to help Emily, by whatever means she can manage. And the third actor, well, that’s full of spoilers so we’ll just call it the real Villain. Worth a watch repeatedly, I Am A Ghost is worth the time it would take to bug Director Mendoza into distributing the film everywhere!

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