“ALTERGEIST” (Movie Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Michael Alexander
If you burn for a ghost story with an extraterrestrial twist, consider your cinematic thirst quenched. The directorial debut of Tedi Sarafian, ALTERGEIST bravely attempts to mesh these two themes into one film, creating both an ambiguous, creepy and rather enjoyable paranormal matrimony.
Produced by HeckArt Studios, ALTERGEIST draws on the haunted reputation of the fictional King’s Ransom Winery and the accompanying, real-life Korbel House, which features historic engravings on its attic walls and is believed to be haunted due to the suicide of said deranged wall-scribbler. It’s a fitting, eerie backdrop to the tale.
ALTERGEIST then, centers on six ghost hunters who venture into King’s Ransom in search of paranormal activity. Led by the pregnant Theresa (Kristina Anapau, TRUE BLOOD) and her ‘unprepared for fatherhood’ boyfriend Dax (Mark Hapka), the team soon realize they most likely should have stayed home. Instead, they work alongside Ashen Till (David Weidoff), the owner of the property, to attempt communication with the long dead, suicidal residents. In doing so, each character often searches the premises alone, in the dark and naturally gets screwed.
Despite its dark setting and often fairly horrific murder sequences, ALTERGEIST is light hearted stuff, with clever banter and humor amongst the group of hunters, and actor Brendan Fletcher (FREDDY vs. JASON) being exceptionally funny throughout. Some scenes however, feel a bit rushed and much is left unexplained. Whether or not this was Sarafian’s intention to create ambiguity, a bit more exposition would have helped the film’s narrative progression considerably.
The ET aspect of ALTERGEIST is equally enigmatic. One is left to speculate whether these paranormal events at King’s Ransom are merely spectral, or rather, if something bigger and more alarming is at hand. The premiere screening this writer attended allowed for a chat with Sarafian and producer/cinematographer Aaron Heck, where Heck explained that he actually stayed at the Korbel House as a child and that his experiences were directly included in the film. Regardless of the truth and mystery surrounding the existing locations, ALTERGEIST aptly captures the fright accompanied by sensing that you are not alone—even if you are.
ALTERGEIST is now available On Demand