Directed by: Gregory Wilson
Starring: Nolan Gould, Jacob Bila,Tim Bell, Catherine Mary Stewart, Trevor Harker, Dane Rhodes
Running time: 81 minutes. Unrated
Special Features: Behind the Scenes Featurette
I the summer of 1984, Timmy Graco (Nolan Gould of Modern Family) just loses his grandfather and spends the days working landscape with his two friends Doug (Jacob Bila) and Barry (Trevor Harker) at the local cemetery and sometimes playing in their underground clubhouse in the cemetery called “The Dugout” – Doug and Barry’s only escape from their abusive parents. After witnessing Barry’s dad beat the crap out of him in an alcoholic rage, Timmy and Doug happen upon the murdered body of a local teenager, whose girlfriend cannot be found. Several other girls start to go missing and the abuse from both Doug and Barry’s parents increase. When Doug suddenly goes missing, Timmy and Barry must face their fears and enter the cemetery underground tunnels and face the legendary boogie man known as “The Ghoul” in order to save their friend.
Ghoul is directed by Gregory Wilson who gave us the almost equally disturbing “The Girl Next Door.” I don’t know what would bring someone to attach themselves to another story about child abuse, but the guy can tell a story. The acting was not great by a handful of the performers. I’m wondering if some of the cast members among the experienced actors were there as a favor to the investors. I’m not trying to piss off or shame anyone, but I’m sure they know who they are. I’m guessing they couldn’t get clearance for any cartoons, so they made one up that was ridiculously terrible and it was almost agonizing having to view it. I know some kids will watch anything, but even those kids would’ve thought that cartoon was lame.
If anybody gets the opportunity to actually read the novel by Brian Keene this film was based on, I would strongly recommended it. Ghoul is the condensed and sugar-coated version of a story about child abuse – both sexual and violent. I can rip and nitpick on trivial stuff, but the story itself is so intriguing and disturbing, I was compelled to read the book afterward. I’m sure with a bigger budget it could’ve been more intense and graphic, but it was still a sufficient independent horror film.
Reviewed by: JM Willis
Make-up Effects: B
Total Rating: B