A Ghost Waits

[Review] Monochrome Haunt A GHOST WAITS is a Surprising Supernatural Love Story

While author Shirley Jackson would like us to believe “houses aren’t haunted – people are,” filmmaker Adam Stovall thinks the opposite in his debut feature A Ghost Waits. This monochromatic and shoestring-budgeted indie haunter finds Jack (MacLeod Andrews) in charge of fixing up a house and finding what exactly causes past tenants to prematurely break their lease. As he stays there, though, Jack learns there’s a paranormal reason behind the early exits – and her name is Muriel (Natalie Walker).

While A Ghost Waits is entirely presented in black and white, that doesn’t mean it lacks color. The main character Jack and his supernatural visitor Muriel stain every nook and corner of this modest, two-story abode with charm and honesty. Before ever reaching that point of harmony and fervor, Stovall sets up what looks like an average haunted house story; yet another family has harrowingly hightailed it out of the home in question. Jack‘s boss Neal (Stovall) then sends his employee to uncover the reason that’s driving away tenants.

 

A Ghost Waits

 

Jack, who has no choice but to stay in the house because his place is being fumigated, eventually finds what’s scaring away renters. A ghost, or rather a spectral agent, named Muriel has been assigned the duty of haunting this residency. She resumes business when she eyes Jack, but despite initially absconding the premises, he returns and makes a connection with his unexpected guest. Failing to complete her assignment has consequences for Muriel and she has to make a difficult decision – follow the rules or break them.

Jack and Muriel both realize they are tethered to this world for reasons that aren’t all dissimilar. They both have routine jobs that don’t necessarily bring either of them total fulfillment. Even in death, a spectral agent is caught up in the same office rigmarole that so many of us would hope be a thing of the past once we step into that white light. Apparently not. Meanwhile, Jack is temporarily without a place to sleep and he has to crash at the haunted house; not a single loved one will even let him stay with them.

 

“not your average horror movie […]A Ghost Waits plays like a stage production of a tragicomedy”

 

Being in black and white should be a tipoff that A Ghost Waits is not your average horror movie. It’s really a quirky romantic comedy underneath the boos and blood. In no way is that a hindrance seeing as the compelling story here makes up for any objections to the movie’s economical appearance. The premise of a phantom pulling a nine to five, zero-reward job and falling for her mortal target isn’t too strange by rom-com standards, but the overall success comes from the delivery.

With the setting being a nondescript property found in any suburbia, the actors aren’t eclipsed by their surroundings. All the attention is on them. Andrews and Walker are captivating and fully committed to their respective parts; they massage delight out of equally anguished roles. The third act takes a heavy turn and one particular development will give pause to some viewers. Nonetheless, Stovall doesn’t wear kid gloves when depicting this verboten fling; the outcome of this tortured and unconventional love story will stay etched in people’s minds. Backed by a soundtrack that ranges from minimal, domestic ambiance to abrupt, guttural horror, the movie feels more alarming than not. The obligatory scares aren’t intended to raise neck hairs; any sort of fright will, again, stem from the events of the conclusion.

 

A Ghost Waits

 

A Ghost Waits plays like a stage production of a tragicomedy due to its pleasing script that is filled to the brim with dramatic language and unveiled thoughts. And how you react to the frank look of the movie will depend on your experience with humble production values and arthouse fare. It just goes to show, though, that even without a lot of money, a persuasive story and a dedicated crew and cast are what matter the most. A lovely and daring movie like this brings new meaning to the word “soulmate.”

 

A Ghost Waits is digitally available on Arrow in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. on February 1. Share your thoughts on the movie with the Nightmare on Film Street community over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.

 



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A Ghost Waits 2021 Poster

Review: A Ghost Waits (2021)
TLDR
A Ghost Waits is not your average horror movie. It's really a quirky romantic comedy underneath the boos and blood. While entirely shot in black and white, that doesn't mean it lacks color. Plays like a stage production of a tragicomedy due to its pleasing script that is filled to the brim with dramatic language and unveiled thoughts. A lovely and daring movie like this brings new meaning to the word "soulmate."
Performances
88
Characters
90
Quirkiness
95
Story
90
90
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