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Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

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Ghosts of Edendale

DVD

****

Written by

Stefan Avalos

Directed by

Stefan Avalos

Cast

Paula Ficara...Rachel

Stephen Wastell...Kevin

Keith Tulton...Julian

Louis Pepe...Alex

Patrick Hasson...Fred

Ethan Grant...Andrew

Nathan Lum...Ghost Boy

R

90 min

www.ghostsofedendale.com

Old
Hollywood decides that it's not going out without a gunfight in Ghosts
of Edendale, and when Old Hollywood wants to defend its turf, it
doesn't fool around.

Now, let me preface by stating that I'm
personally very excited about this week's column. You'll notice that,
regardless of WHAT video store you go to, you won't find it on the
shelves. It's not on Netflix, either. The reason is, it hasn't been
released yet. That's right...Reel Advice readers are getting an advance
look at an UPCOMING RELEASE. It won't even be on the shelves until
mid-October, and you'll know about it in advance.

NOW aren't you glad you stuck around?

How'd I get it?

Simple...the director, Stefan Avalos, is a Reel Advice reader himself!

But now, on to the movie.

The
DVD menu is a real thrill--easily one of the best out there. Figures
move in the background and fade from color to black and white, as
though the picture is aging and moving all on its own. In the
background, a discordant piano solo crashes its way through the
sequence of movement, lending a truly eerie touch to the tableau.
Meanwhile, the options sit nondescript below the picture, almost an
afterthought. It's subtle without being too obtuse, and a truly
refreshing touch to an often ignored feature of DVDs.

Even
the individual option menus have their own ominous backgrounds. I
haven't seen a DVD menu this involved since Jeepers Creepers 2, and I
love it.

A couple, Kevin and Rachel by name, moves into an old
house in California, setting up residence on a fairly run down street,
Edendale Place. Apparently, Edendale was the center of some serious
goings-on in Hollywood, including whatever happened to the previous
owners of the house our hapless couple just bought. Something so
bizarre that they left food to rot in the unpowered refrigerator, left
furniture abandoned behind them, and even rushed out so fast they
knocked the back porch's wind chime.

They discover some very
pleasant neighbors, like Julian and Alex, who not only help Kevin and
Rachel move in, but also bring beer.

This should be Kevin and
Rachel's first warning sign--strangers bearing beer in the middle of
Los Angeles is not exactly normal--but if they used logical thought
processes we wouldn't have a movie, now would we?

The
neighborhood has this whole "pod person" feel to it--everyone in the
neighborhood is in "the business" in one way or another; actors,
writers, musicians are all well represented with a near fanaticism. For
instance, Julian and Alex discuss Andrew, an actor who apparently
botched a show for which they had recommended him, and the neighborhood
reacted with a systematic ostracism. They visibly hate to discuss
Andrew, and refuse to invite him to parties.

I keep waiting for Julian to stand stock-still, arm stretched out, finger pointing, screaming "Anna Nicole! Anna Nicole!"

Andrew,
meanwhile, is wandering around the neighborhood like a junkie looking
for a crack house, desperate for Rachel to tell him when the next party
will be.

Things don't get much better from there for Kevin and
Rachel. Weird events plague them, both natural and paranormal. And
Kevin's changing, too...not necessarily for the better. Kevin's working
out! Quitting smoking! Watching what he eats! Getting weepy and
obsessive over spurs his wife found in...the...garden? Oooookay.
Something is definitely not right in Kevin's head-meat.

The
events keep rolling right along until the inexorable conclusion, which
is presented terribly well in the truly unsettling ending as Rachel
discovers that the stories of Edendale aren't just stories after all....

Creepy
moments abound in "Ghosts of Edendale"--there are all kinds of scenes
that'll have you working the rewind and frame advance buttons on your
remotes as you ask "What was THAT?" For instance, keep your eyes on
Rachel's bedroom closet for a moment that got ME nervous, and that's
saying something. Check out the fence a little later, too.

Extra
features are also very involved. We have a handful of audio and
commentary options, behind the scenes featurettes, production artwork,
a trailer, deleted scenes, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Ghosts
of Edendale uses music and atmosphere to a maximum effectiveness,
creating a film that is at once cerebral and unsettling. It refuses to
rely on trite horror gimmicks like buckets of blood and mock Satanic
rituals, and instead relies on its environment and excellent
cinematography to produce its shocks.

All in all, Ghosts of
Edendale is a highly effective horror film, for what it uses and what
it REFUSES. Stefan Avalos needs to be putting out more movies like
this--it's head and shoulders above the crap that's hitting shelves
these days.



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