I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a lot of short films in 2015 and I have to say that this has been one of the best years for “small horror” in a while. With a lot of great titles currently in film festivals and available for online streaming, how does one go about making their short film stand out from the crowd. Gory special effects? An onslaught of cliche jump scares? Gratuitous nudity? Sometimes, as seen with Ghost Tour, all you need is a simple story and exquisite cinematography; and the rest of the pieces to the puzzle will fall into place. If you don’t believe me, check out the film at the end of my review.
Ghost Tour is written and directed by Erik Bloomquist with co-writer and co-producer Danielle Bonanno. Bloomquist and Bonanno also star in Ghost Tour alongside William Bloomfield, Willam Youmans (“666 Park Avenue”), Natalie Brown, Cliff Miller, Greg Nutcher and Brandon White. The film follows a museum’s final ghost tour on the night of November 30, 1973. Despite his many years of giving the haunted tours, Richard Sawyer is an avid disbeliever in the supernatural; however, on this night he has his first encounter with the paranormal… and it uncovers dark truths about the museum’s past.
As I mentioned above, Ghost Tour is so simple that it just… works. It takes you back to the good old days of horror, when mystery and suspense were all wrapped up in hair-raising terror. It strips away all the bullshit Hollywood tactics of film-making and it will hit viewers in the right spots – the gut and the spine. For me, as a life-long horror fanatic, it was such a joy to see a short film styled in this way. All Erik Bloomquist did was take an interesting ghost story with a twist ending, assemble a talented cast who could pull off a wide range of emotions, and set it all in an old, historic house. The house, of course, being The Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut. Even the fact that the film was filmed in Mark Twain’s address from 1874 – 1891 added an extra layer of “cool” and an extra layer of depth to Ghost Tour. I think my thoughts here can best be summarized as: Ghost Tour is a true horror film, one that keeps you interested and uneasy without trying to.
And it’s so professionally done, too! I give a lot of applause to cinematographer Thomson Nguyen for putting in all of his efforts because it really shows in terms of quality. I was thoroughly impressed. As someone with my degree in Media and Film, I was unable to find an error in film-making and I have to give Ghost Tour and all the crew members who worked on it a lot of credit for producing such a polished picture. Of course, a film would only remain a picture if it wasn’t for the cast to highlight it. I think it was genius and clever to use a more mature cast for most of the short film instead of the typical twenty-something demographic. Serial killers, two headed sharks and spiritual entities target more than college kids, ya know! This is said with tremendous respect for the lead cast who carried this nine minute movie. Solid job, everyone. I do have to say, though, that William Youmans was my favorite actor; he made a humorous, unsuspecting weirdo out of his character and I loved it.
I sincerely hope that Ghost Tour is shipped off to film festivals, though it has already made its way online (link below!). When I watch a short film that I’m passionate about, like this one, I want as many people to see it as possible because it’s deserving of the attention. Erik Bloomquist demonstrated that he is an extremely talented guy, both behind and in front of the camera, and I’m looking forward to more horror related material from him in the future. Ghost Tour is the perfect treat for viewers who are looking for a good ghost story in time for Halloween season. With so much garbage out there – hello, Paranormal Activity – Ghost Tour reminds us that ghosts are still scary and tricky in the right setting without all the extra nonsense. Short, sweet, and to the point! Loved it! FINAL SCORE: 8.5 out of 10