Note to self: Make sure to proof read and not call this movie Judas Priest. Anyway… If you’ve ever read one of my reviews where I critique a film about ghost hunters investigating a haunting, then you know that I am extremely critical about the subgenre, especially due in part to its over-saturation in the market. At first I didn’t have any interest in watching Judas Ghost because I thought, “great… another one…,” but I had nothing to do last night and decided to watch my screener from Uncork’d Entertainment. Did it impress me or do I get to ruin someone else’s day? Read on to find out.
Judas Ghost is written by Simon R. Green and directed by Simon Pearce. Cast members include Martin Delaney (“Family Affairs,” “Renford Rejects”), Simon Merrells (“Dominion,” “The Tomorrow People”), Lucy Cudden (“The Wrong Door”), Alexander Perkins (“Law & Order: UK”) and Grahame Fox (Stormhouse). Judas Ghost was filmed in the UK with mostly all British actors, so that means there’s lots of sexy accents and, for some reason, I thought I was watching a grown up Freddie Highmore the whole time with Martin Delaney.
“A team of professional ghost finders become trapped in an old village hall and must fight for their survival when an apparently standard haunting turns out to be far worse than they first anticipated. Based on the Ghost Finders book series by New York Times best-selling author Simon R. Green.” – Falling Shadows Productions
Judas Ghost started off like all the other titles in its category, a small group of paranormal investigators showing up to a reportedly haunting building in hopes of recording and banishing a restless spirit. Been there, done that a hundred times… But, then it started taking a big turn in the originality department when it became a “how to” educational video on identifying and fighting evil entities. That was kind of cool to see, especially considering shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Charmed” were my favorite while growing up. OK, so my interested was held for another ten minutes or fifteen minutes, but where could Judas Ghost go after that? Well, let me tell you, Judas Ghost is absolutely unpredictable after that and things get crazy! It doesn’t follow the typical plot structure of any horror film I’ve ever seen and kept me on my toes for the remainder of my viewing. I was surprised!
The four characters we meet are marginally friendly and enjoyable, which means usually I would want to route for their survival. However, in this case, I wanted to see what fucked up things Simon & Simon would do to them and I wasn’t let down. I wish I could write some of the circumstances and instances forced upon them, but it would be way to spoiler-y and you need to see them for yourself when you purchase or stream this movie. I will say, though, that Judas Ghost is far from your average haunting. Expect way more than a couple disembodied voices, shaking cameras and slamming doors. Judas Ghost is “Paranormal State” on crack and I absolutely loved it. I was enthralled in my viewing so much that I didn’t even mind that the entire film took place in only one room. The two well placed jump scares were an added bonus, too. Now this is a horror film about ghosts!
My only real complaints are for the the special effects and visual effects people. Both departments had a lot of work cut out for them here and their elements were fantastic 80% of the time, but that 20% of the time were just so hokey. Blood is a completely different texture than Koolaid, black mists shouldn’t look so pixel-y. I assume these slight mishaps were due to a smaller budget and, again, usually they were executed professionally, but those few instances of mediocrity hurt.
Judas Ghost is definitely a sleeper hit. Don’t let it pass you by as it almost did me. It’s definitely worthy of the price of a DVD purchase, especially if you’re a fan of the subgenre. It’s creepy, intense and well acted. It’s… probably the best investigators vs. ghost movie I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since Grave Encounters in 2011 and it’s definitely the best of its kind that I’ve seen in the last year or two. I’ll remember this one for a while. Check it out, guys! Final Score: 8 out of 10.