Monday, September 22, 2014

America's Most Haunted (2012)

The ghost hunting show, America's Most Haunted, gathers up their equipment and heads out to investigate another haunted location for their show.  When they arrive they meet the owner, his son, a psychic, and a few others who've had experiences at the hotel.

The team tells the owner they'll get rid of the ghost.  The reason they seem so sure of it is because in all the years they've been doing the show, they've never seen anything paranormal.  In fact, all their evidence is manufactured.  As their leader tells a new team member, the team is only there for one night and ghosts don't work on a schedule.

After they rig the house and set up different supernatural scenarios to capture in their investigation, team members  hear noises, witness doors slam, and see figures in their night vision cameras.  Things get weirder when they find a journal in the basement from a man who was possessed by a demon, killed multiple people in the home, and still walks the halls.  For the first time in their lives, they have to deal with actual ghosts and the supernatural, and the team disagrees on what they should do.

If you like watch ghost hunting shows, and don't take them too seriously, then you may enjoy this film.  While part of it is a typical ghost hunter horror flick, the beginning where they're discussing ghost hunting and working with a new team member is great.

There are multiple references to the shows being entertainment.  Since ghosts don't perform on queue they manufacture their own evidence.  In one clip of a previous investigation, the team talks about how it's getting cold in the basement and then something falls over.  The team excitedly states this was supernatural, but you can see a figure in the doorway which turns out to be Jimmy, their equipment manager.  The new film editor on the team is told to make sure these types of things don't end up in the final show that airs.

A lot of the humor is based on the style of the guys on Ghost Adventures.  When they get an EVP, they state you can clearly hear the voice say "Get Out." Yet when they play it back multiple times, it doesn't sound anything like that.  

There is a discussion between Jimmy and the new guy Kevin in which Kevin asks about their equipment.  Jimmy explains it's all been modified so that there are lots of lights that can blink, and they can make them go off remotely.  None of them really work as they're supposed to anymore due to all the modifications.  Later there's a scene where Kevin is wondering if they might find a real ghost that night which would make better television, and one of the team exclaims, "I think we have a really great fake ghost show."

In a scene that totally reminded me of the tone of Zak from Ghost Adventures, two investigators are standing next to a bookshelf, when a book randomly falls over. They look at it, and then one turns back to the camera and solemnly intones, "We were warned that the spirits in this house hate books."

James Karen, from Return of the Living Dead, plays the hotel owner.  Near the end of the movie, there is a nice piece of film which shows the psychic and people from the hotel talking about what to do about the ghost, which brings an interesting perspective on inviting ghost hunters to work in your building.

I bought this movie as one of those $5 DVD multipacks, so I had very low expectations for it.  But it turned out to be good, and overall I liked it.  The fake ghost hunting parts were my favorite. I love ghost hunting shows, although I don't believe their evidence.  Everything is too easy to fake and let's face it, the TV executives are only going to be concerned about the ratings, not if it's real.

(New team member looking at all the ghost hunting equipment):
Kevin - What's that one do?
Jimmy - Lights up. Looks good on camera.

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