Odd film, Broken Ghost.
It opens with two bikers slowly approaching a big house that appears to be sitting out in the middle of nowhere. They enter the house, we hear gunshots, and then suddenly….
….a new family is moving into the house! The Day family is full of secrets, some of which we learn about immediately and others of which are only gradually revealed. Samantha Day (Scottie Thompson) has recently bought the local drug store and is frustrated by the fact that her husband, William (Nick Farnell), is impotent. William is a moody artist who is struggling to get over an addiction to pornography. And then there’s their teenage daughter, who insists on being called Imogen (Autry Haydon-Wilson) even though her real name is Grace. Or maybe she now wants to be Grace and her original name was Imogen. To be honest, it’s hard to keep track because everyone refers to her by both names throughout the film. We do know that Samantha occasionally calls her the wrong name because everyone yells at her about it.
Anyway, Imogen is the reason that the Days have moved to a new house. Apparently, something bad happened at Imogen’s old school and, as a result, she’s changed her name and her hair. Imogen is an interesting character and Autry Haydon-Wilson does a good job playing her. Imogen’s moods swing back and forth, between depression and angry, insecurity and defiance. You’re on her side as soon as you meet her. Imogen suffers from a severe vision impairment and the film occasionally shows the world through her eyes. It’s a uniquely threatening place.
As soon as the Days move into their new home, strange things start to happen. The television turns on at random and it’s usually showing porn. Imogen starts to hear a voice calling her name. Samantha finds herself tempted to run off with every strange man that she sees at the local bar. William, at least, finds himself artistically inspired. When his wife and his daughter point out to him that the house is obviously haunted and that it might be a good idea to move somewhere else, William replies, “I’m doing my best work!”
It turns out that the house has quite a history, one that goes beyond those two bikers that we saw earlier. The house was previously owned by another artist, one who murdered his wife and his children. When William finds the murderer’s artwork, he starts to slip even further into insanity. Could it be that William is possessed by the murder’s malevolent spirit or is there a twist lurking in the shadows….
Yes, there is a twist. I won’t spoil it, beyond saying that it was a pretty bad twist and that it didn’t really make any sense. In fact, it made me want to throw something at the television. But, oh well. I guess we should be happy that Broken Ghost tried to do something unexpected. Still, as a result of the twist, the movie ends on a rather sour note and it’s hard not to feel that one member of the Day household has been excessively punished while another member of the family has basically gotten away with acting like a complete asshole. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
So, it’s a flawed film that doesn’t really work but there are still some effective moments. As I said, Imogen’s an interesting character and I almost wish that the film had dropped all of the supernatural mystery stuff and instead just focused on her character and her struggle to move on with her life. Say what you will about the script but the cinematography is gorgeous and full of atmosphere. There’s good moments all through Broken Ghost.
It’s just a shame about that ending.