The Horror Review: EST: 1999

  Ghost Machine (2009)

 Film Title: Ghost Machine Year Released: 2009
Reviewed By: Horror Bob
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Overall Stars: *** Scare Factor: **1/2


   Technology can be either manís best friend or his worst enemy. Many films have depicted man vs. technology scenarios, such as the Terminator movies, I Robot, The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity.  There are tons of them, and they all can be considered both part of the horror and Science Fiction genre. 

   Ghost Machine follows a group of government soldiers, scientists and computer engineers who are all part of a top-secret video simulator used to train soldiers in a real-life environment and to train them how to handle certain critical situations in combat, such as hostage rescue and breaking up terrorist cells. When a group of young technicians and soldiers enter the top-secret site to play around with the computer, they find that they are not alone in the virtual world. What was supposed to be a night of fun has turned into a virtual nightmare when the vengeful ghost of a girl is haunting the machine and killing anyone she comes across in the virtual universe.  The team must stop her from taking over the system and their brains before she kills them all and drags them into her nightmare.

   My first thought about this film was that it was one of those ghosts-in-the-machine films that was going to be weird and boring. I felt this way with films like Ghost in the Machine, The Thirteenth Floor and Pulse.  They just got boring after a while and were films that really did not interest me all from the start. Ghost Machine starts slowly, but improves once the plot is established and all the characters are introduced.  Itís not a perfect script, but it gets the job done and gets its point across without leaving the viewer  hanging at the end and wondering what the hell just happened. The story is actually decent.

   The acting and production value are good. While I cannot say all the acting is good, I think the actors, for the most part, hold their own, get into their roles and play them to the best of their ability. None of the performances stand out to me, but the film has an overall decent cast that is believable in their roles.  The production value is very good for a film that had a small budget. The visual effects are good and even borrow some of the CGI elements from films like The Matrix.  The locations outside the virtual world are basic, but once inside the simulator we are treated to both realistic and fantastic worlds. The film also has some decent special make-up effects that do involve some blood and a little bit of gore, but it is not to over the top.

   For a film shot with a limited budget and no real big names in its cast, Ghost Machine is a surprisingly decent flick. Sure, like all limited-budget films it has its flaws, but it is actually a decent film with a decent plot. If you are into horror films that involve virtual killers and where technology is man's enemy, then you might want to check this one out.

- Horror Bob


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