Available on Digital
Mark (Andrew C. Fisher) and his wife Jenna (Mandy Lee Rubio) are living in A Town Full of Ghosts. Believe it or not, these entities are the least of their worries. Instead, what they have to deal with is each other as they are alone.
This cabin in the wood scenario is more like a town located far, far away from Route 66. However, they have friends along for this thrill ride. They have a cameraman Justin (Ali Alkhafaji) and his girlfriend Lisa (Lauren Lox) with them as they video blog about their work to transform Blackwoods Falls from a ghost town into a tourist trap off the beaten path.
The fact writer/director Isaac Rodriguez is examining this vlogger/TikTok culture gives this film some oomph. This subplot concerning Mark wanting to up his viewership drives at least half the film. As a result, what people are witnessing is his descent to madness. It starts when he discovers this town’s sordid history.
This investor chose unwisely, and pretty soon, we have a film that mixes up ideas and cinematic tricks from The Shining, Blair Witch Project, and Paranormal Activity.
The found footage subgenre is tough to love. My major problem is in how the movie we see got put together. Who is this mystery film editor that’s assembled the digital files together into a story? We rarely get a glimpse of that fact and the only film I see leading the pack is Sinister. This movie presents the found footage format from the point of view of the person finding the old tapes and watching them!
In Rodriguez’s version, we’re seeing Mark’s broadcasts after he’s edited his recording (someone has to place the titles into the video), and the rest is obviously cobbled together after the fact it was found instead of broadcasted live. I’m still struggling to find which television anthology series featured an episode concerning a live broadcast of paranormal investigators doing their thing inside an actively haunted house on Halloween, with the newscaster waiting outside. It wasn’t Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. Alas, one day I’ll figure it out. His approach isn’t too different from either television series. We see Mark as an online influencer who was losing followers. But after he finds some historical artefacts about this town’s past, and turns into a crypt keeper to reveal those facts, I became interested again.
Suddenly his viewership is climbing, and I wanted to see how far gone he’ll become. In A Town Full of Ghosts, the scares are light and the suspense doesn’t work. Even when the couple discovered the maze, I was left scratching my head. It was built for no particular reason and when Mark found documentation explaining why–I was still at a loss.
The fact we’re supposed to suspend disbelief doesn’t hit right away. This found footage movie filmed at J. Lorraine Ghost Town in Manor, Texas, gives the work an air of authenticity but it looks like it was built in the late 19th century. The aerial views make this township look modern.
Anyone expecting a place straight out of a John Wayne movie is out of luck.
The only spooky thing about this film is where the budget went. I’m glad it was used to make the vintage bits stand out. They showed the most promise out of the entire film, instead of the present danger.
A sane person would drop the camera to run away. It’s only by luck that it may continue recording to catch the supernatural shenanigans. Afterwards, the person who finds the machine would most likely give it to the police. And what we get to watch is them presenting the entire footage for their detectives to figure out.
As for what I’d conclude after seeing the work, I’d say we’re all just dust in the wind as far as what the ghosts represent here.
3 Stars out of 5