To say that Lionsgate’s GHOSTER is merely a clone of the movie CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST is accurate. Writers Nick Pollack (screenplay), Jerome Reygner-Kalfon and Sebastien Semon don’t even try to hide the fact. Although they changed the spirit’s origin story to make the premise different, I was curious because I can’t pass up a family friendly movie about ghosts. When most Halloween films are about scaring, this departure is actually welcomed.
The main difference between the two works concerns how many spirits get encountered. The story is taken almost in complete verbatim–a mansion is up for grabs for the person who can prove ownership. Elizabeth and her father are about to lose theirs and by sheer luck, they get a letter saying she has inherited a nearby Manor in another town. What they don’t know is that it’s haunted, and this particular occupant is Ghoster, an entity that knows how he came to be, and the fact that the only way to a peaceful afterlife is to defeat an old evil that his ancestors have vowed to destroy.
Honestly, I like the idea of dealing with a ghost dragon. That’s the force the mortal and immortal world has to face. Unfortunately, the CGI design of the big nasty is very cheap, and it doesn’t install any fear at all. That’s good for parents wanting a soft product for their kids to tune into.
Thankfully, the physical world looks far nicer than the supernatural one, and the investment is in realising a HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE style act three so that kids have something to ooh at. I don’t want to say too much about this moment, as it’s an adequate attempt at YA fiction. It at least brings certain story elements together, and offers a way to give GHOSTER a life that isn’t altogether about being dead forever.
And if the fantasy evil is gone too, I wonder what else the new family can face. That’s because there’s a setup for a potential sequel should home video sales prove decent. It’s almost guaranteed because of the mid-credits sequence–to defeat any dark force means finding the macguffin to contain this evil’s very essence.
This film is easy to follow, and for the target audience it’s intended to sell to, kids will enjoy it. It’s not meant to be scary at all. At least the literary ghost enthusiast in me approves. Just what spirits classically represent is excellently defined. Not every spectre has to be like those in POLTERGEIST or THE SHINING.
GHOSTER is now available on Digital VOD as well as DVD format.