‘Ghost Team’ is the Ghost Movie of the Summer
Let me know if you’re seen this before (like last month): a group of social misfits comes together to investigate the existence of paranormal entities.
While “Ghostbusters” was stealing all of the ghost-hunting movie headlines this summer, The Orchard managed to find its own paranormal adventure/comedy to bring to the table – “Ghost Team.”
Stan (David Krumholtz), Louis (Jon Heder), Ellie (Melonie Diaz), Zak (Paul W. Downs), and Ross (Justin Long) search for paranormal activity in ‘Ghost Team.’ (Photo courtesy of The Orchard.)
Louis (Jon Heder) is a perpetually single and boring man, who does little more than chain smoke cigarettes, work and obsess over becoming a ghost hunter. His interest in the other-worldly allows him escape from his life, which also includes the print shop he owns and operates.
Things, however, take an unexpected turn toward adventure when a customer stops by to have “No Trespassing” signs printed – he’s convinced an amateur ghost hunter is going to get hurt on his haunted, abandoned farm.
His interest piqued, Louis enlists the help of his depressed and alien-obsessed best friend, Stan (David Krumholtz); his “tech genius” nephew, Zak (Paul W. Downs); Zak’s co-worker, Ross (Justin Long); second-rate medium, Victoria (Amy Sedaris); and Ellie (Melonie Diaz), a woman who brings little more than Louis’ unrequited affections to the team.
The hastily-assembled team sets off for the farm with their cut-rate equipment and dearth of training and actual expertise. Upon arrival, they discover that there really is more to the dilapidated property than what meets the eye. Can they possibly be ready for what’s waiting for them?
Well, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a very funny or entertaining movie if they were 100 percent prepared for everything, now would it?
Ross (Justin Long), Ellie (Melonie Diaz), Zak (Paul W. Downs), and Louis (Jon Heder) scour an abandoned farmhouse for evidence of the paranormal in ‘Ghost Team.’ ’ (Photo courtesy of The Orchard.)
And, truthfully, “Ghost Team” isn’t all that funny of a movie – at least in terms of big, belly-slapping laughs. There are a couple of moments like that – often featuring Long or Krumholtz – but for the most part the humor is more subtle or derived largely from the wave of awkwardness that Heder seems to have cast since his days as “Napoleon Dynamite.” Few actors can consistently deliver offbeat and awkward as well as Heder does.
Not only is the humor in “Ghost Team” subtle, but so are the scares. It doesn’t rely on the clichéd jump scare for everything, instead building suspense and using – again – more subtle, creepy movements to drag it out longer. When you’re trained to wait for the jump scare and it doesn’t show up where or when you’re expecting it, it becomes much more effective.
In truth, “Ghost Team” reminds me much more of the “Doctor Who” episode “Love & Monsters” than it does a paranormal adventure movie. In both the movie and that episode, a group of people is drawn together by a common belief, but end up finding things they’ve been in search of for an even longer length of time – friendship, acceptance, etc.
“Ghost Team” is certainly not going to be a needle-mover at the box office – it’s playing in select cities and is available on Google Play – but it’s a solid, fun story featuring a handful of genuinely entertaining supporting actors.
There are much worse ghost hunting movies out there right now – as was proven earlier this summer.
★★★ of ★★★★★