Monday, October 24, 2011
Last year I reviewed a (2005) film entitled “The Maid”. As I watched Ghost Month I realized that it is essentially the exact same story and that with a little tweaking I could use last-year’s review as a boilerplate. Without further ado,
"Every year, for thirty days during the lunar seventh month, the Chinese believe that the gates of hell are thrown open. Vengeful spirits or hungry ghosts wander among the living, seeking revenge and justice before the gates of hell are closed again for another year."
Eighteen-year old Alyssa flees a bad relationship by accepting a job offer to work as a maid for Ms. Wu and Wu’s Aunt Chen who live in a remote large house in the desert. Unfortunately for Alyssa she happened to arrive during the Chinese Seventh Month, a time when ghosts are released from hell for 30 days to annoy people. The level-headed Alyssa (a lapsed Catholic) cannot be bothered by such nonsense as she is focused on using the job as a respite from her unstable ex-boyfriend. Given her blasé attitude about the paranormal Alyssa unwittingly breaks several cardinal rules including, never swim, never turn around at night when you hear someone calling your name, and never talk to strangers on a deserted road.
Ms. Wu is kind of a bitch
Soon Alyssa begins suffering the consequences of her naivety as angry spirits begin to torment her. Ms. Wu encourages her to suck it up because the ghost menace will only last a month, however Alyssa begins to suspect that there is something sinister in her employers’ intentions. Soon two ghosts begin terrorizing her, a long-haired girl (of course) and a young man and if that’s not enough a friend warns her that Alyssa’s crazy ex is on his way to confront her.
Given that this is so similar to The Maid I find myself comparing the two and concluding that The Maid is the better film. It has a better locale, a better actress who plays a smarter character and creepier cinematography and ghosts. The scares here are of the jump-out variety and the ghosts are kind of lame. The Alyssa character is likable but kind of dumb. There are very few surprises and you will figure out the “mystery” long before dumb Alyssa does. Not a bad film, but it’s been (literally) done before.