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GHOSTWATCHER (2002 — R)
As inhospitable forces invade Laura's life, she questions her sanity. Night and day, strange events occur in the apartment that render no explanation. Is it paranoia or paranormal? Forced to seek outside assistance in stopping the menacing activity inside her own sanctuary, Laura enlists the help of Dr. Elizabeth Dean: Webmaster of an infamous 'ghost-hunting' web page. However, "Dr." Dean does not herself believe in the legends of ghosts, she merely benefits from their lucrative prospects. But with Laura's story so undeniably inexplicable, the house may make a believer out of Dean yet.
With the mystery of the perils somehow attached to the events of the year before, Laura must force herself to recall her past and face her fears. But what do you do when your fears are dead? With Laura ready to dredge up the past it seems Dr. Dean and Laura will have to find the corpse of Dixon, Laura's old stalker and murderer of her family. After having killed off her family, it seems Laura killed Dixon and buried his body in the old barn. With everything gone haywire around Laura she is convinced that Dixon is somehow trying to find a body so he can transpose his spirit and come back to finish what he started. But with Laura's intense case of agoraphobia it is up to Dr. Dean and Nikki, the co-player in Dixon's death, to discover the body before Dixon gets to them first. In a turn of events that exposes the truths behind the situation, the audience is left to wonder, how exactly do you stop an immortal ghost and his wrath when your hired sidekick is a scam artist?
Probably one of the most gripping scenes of the film was that of the barn. It was predictable, but only to the audience. In short that's what made the suspense in "Ghost Watchers". In the barn it's not so much about what's going to happen at that point as opposed to how it is going to happen. Throughout the film the director seems to relish this effect of slowing down the plot to draw out the suspense in the audience. Though at times it may have been too slow, overall things were pretty fluid and the continuity was mostly succinct. As for the barn scene, well, you know he's not going to be there; it's just a matter of time before the girls realize it too!
Overall "Ghost Watchers" was a relieving take on horror and mystery that wove together a good balance of both so that the end result wasn't altogether cheesy: unlike many of its contemporaries. Moreover the leading actresses, particularly Jennifer Servary, did a rather fine job playing their role. This film was not the big-budget blockbuster of its rivals so considering what the director, producer, and actors had to work with; I would say they did an A-okay job. Of course it is hard not to engage in a horror film without a bias of predicted cheesiness and disappointment, so, when something like "Ghost Watcher" comes along, it is nice to have taken notice and picked it up instead of say, a much worse rival.
Jillian Byrnes plays Laura Kove, the agoraphobic schizophrenic afraid to leave her house after the events of the previous October left her traumatized.
Marianne Hayden plays Nikki Brandt, the one and only person in whom Laura can trust.
Jennifer Servary plays Elizabeth Dean, scam artist extraordinaire who poses in the guise of a ghost-buster medium and winds up entangled in Laura's nightmare.
Kevin Quinn plays Malcolm Dixon, the villainous mortal and spook who will stop at nothing to continue his apathetically evil reign of terror.