Tuesday, October 25, 2022

#2,848. A Ghost Waits (2020)


Directed by Adam Stovall (who also co-wrote the screenplay), A Ghost Waits is a low-budget film that works as both horror (its story of a haunted house results in some effective supernatural scares) and comedy (the ghost in question is not so much an angry, vengeful spirit as she is an employee, who punches the clock and has to deal with meddlesome bosses). But it’s the romantic subplot that makes this 2020 film so unique, not to mention a joy to watch.

Jack (co-writer MacLeod Stevens), a down-on-his-luck handyman, is hired by a property manager to inspect a house that has been nothing but trouble. It seems that everyone who rents this particular dwelling ends up breaking their lease, with some tenants so anxious to flee that they leave their possessions behind.

It isn’t long before Jack stumbles upon the problem: the house is haunted by a seemingly angry spirit named Muriel (Natalie Walker). Though frightened at first, Jack eventually strikes up a friendship with Muriel, and before lone he even falls in love with her. Muriel, in turn, develops feelings for Jack, but is a romance between the living and the dead even possible?

Shot in black and white, A Ghost Waits gets off to a creepy start. In the film’s opening scene, Muriel chases off “her” house’s newest occupants, using every trick in the book to scare the bejesus out of them. Muriel soon realizes, however, that it’s going to take more than the usual parlor tricks to get Jack to leave. He has a job to do, and ghost or no ghost, he’s going to see it through.

Muriel is taken aback when Jack refuses to run for his life. Being a spirit for well over 200 years, she is considered one of the all-time best “spectral agents”, and while both she and her supervisor, Miss Henry (Amanda Miller), are none too happy that Jack can’t be scared off, the lonely Muriel eventually discovers that she likes talking to Jack almost as much as he likes talking to her!

Treating a haunting as if it were a job (Muriel didn’t die in the house… she was assigned to it) and featuring a genuinely sweet relationship that develops between its two main characters, A Ghost Waits is, without a doubt, one of the most original haunted house movies I’ve seen in years.
Rating: 9 out of 10

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