Oct 23, 2014

23 of 31: Last Light: An Irish Ghost Story (2011)

A vain attempt by a formerly prolific blogger to review 31 new (to me) horror films in the 31 days of October. We did it last year and it was a gas. Can we do it once more? Let's find out.

Platform: Amazon Prime on Roku
Starring: Some Irish folks

I haven't found too much written about this film, but what I have found has been slightly positive. Even though the film was supposedly made for around £200, that's British pounds. Might be the lowest-budget film I've ever heard of. The writer/director, George Clarke, wrote the screenplay in 3 days and filmed it in 12. Mostly with his family and friends. Set in real abandoned mansion in Northern Ireland that had been a hospital in WWII, and then a nursing home for the elderly. The townsfolk hire a handyman to board off the historical site to keep the local kids from breaking in and destroying the place that had already fallen into disrepair.

Here's the deal. This is an actual, well supposed, haunted mansion. The cast and crew allegedly encountered numerous instances of paranormal phenomena. George Clarke spent the three days writing the film at the mansion with a team of paranormal investigators and a psychic. Nearly everything that happens in the film is based on those events. Kinda cool.

The tiny budget in the film is a palpable thing. The only non-natural lighting used in the dark mansion is from a flashlight, a Zippo lighter and some matches. That's it. And since there was very little budget for special effects, the ghosts are played by actual people, giving a real physicality to their presence in the film. The handyman has a whole series of "Holy shit, get the fuck out!" experiences almost immediately, although he somehow convinces himself that it's just a bunch of local kids fucking with him. Pissed at that thought, he becomes determined to finish the job of sealing off all the doors and windows in the house.

But the ghosts and spirits don't want to be sealed in. So, while they've avoided him for his first couple of weeks at the house, they become angry and violent and very grabby as he prepares to finish the job. You can probably guess where this is all headed. Things do not go well for our intrepid handyman. Even though he had ample opportunities to go running home to his wife. Who, while being very skeptical, comes to get rescue him at the desperate urging of her sister.

I've seen haunted house films made on much, much larger budgets that weren't nearly as effective as this one was. Not saying that it's a great film or anything. But it was atmospheric and fun, and that's about all I need when it comes to paranormal horror. Give it a try. Absolutely amazing for how much was spent on the film.

Verdant Dude Rating: 3 out of 5 pumpkin ales

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