Quickie review: Ghost Paper: The Other Side (short horror film)

Quickie review: Ghost paper

Crew:

  • Written By: Kyle Godfrey
  • Directed By: Kyle Godfrey Co-Directed By:
  • David Ajibodu Camera Operator / Cinematographer: Alex Lieu
  • Screenplay: Kyle Godfrey, David Ajibodu
  • Edited By: Kyle Godfrey
  • Cast: Kiki Zorzi as Mackenzie @kikizorzi

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What have we learned so far this month? Don’t make a deal with the devil or any of his demony friends! Or sit in any suspicious chairs! What have we learned from this video? Maybe just don’t speak to them, either. There’s currently a trend at for performing ‘Rituals’ often held at 3am, you’re  supposed to follow a series of strict instructions (there’s a handy guide to performing these correctly at The Ghost in My Machine). These get you in touch with the other side, and supposedly take you everywhere from other dimensions (lifts and taxi drivers) to speaking with demons (mostly involving stairs, mirrors and candles).

Ghost Paper is very loosely based on one of these rituals, and the titular game involves writing questions to an entity on a piece of paper, then performing a series of knocks, and waiting for it to take it from you under the door. If something spooky is passing or can be bothered to respond, you should then have an interesting back-and-forth with the unknown.

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This short film uses the urban myth to create a terrifying horror short, elegantly bringing the dangerous ritual to its inevitable conclusion. Young Mackenzie is beautifully played by Kiki Zorzi, convincingly conveying Mackenzie’s apprehension, curiosity and terror as the game’s stakes escalate. It’s uncluttered and very effectively pared down. No gratuitous jump scares, here, this benefits from a quiet, ideally dark room, but give it its five minutes and you’ll soon enjoy a quality piece of modern horror.

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Movie review: Pyewacket (2017)

Pyewacket (2017)

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Cast:

  • Laurie Holden as Mrs. Reyes
  • Nicole Muñoz as Leah
  • Chloe Rose as Janice
  • Eric Osborne as Aaron
  • James McGowan as Rowan Dove
  • Bianca Melchior as Pyewacket

Without spoilers

Mothers and daughters can have fraught relationships, and Leah (Nicole Muñoz) and her mother (Laurie Holden) are no exception. Her father has recently passed away and neither of them are dealing with it healthily. Leah has started getting into the Occult, her bedroom is full of books and moody posters, and although it at first seems like a morbid teen rebellion – and quite understandable – after an epic fight with her mum, Leah angrily storms into the woods and starts slicing into her arm, trying to summon ‘Pyewacket’ to rid her of her mother. Bad move, Leah. At first nothing happens, but then odd occurrences start to mount up. Was her ritual successful, or has she really gone off the deep end?

Pyewacket (it’s fun to type!) fully gets that ‘nothing’ is usually scarier and wrings every bit of tension out of that. It’s closer to Paranormal Activity than the more overt Insidious, using shadow and suggestion to creep us out. The camera makes us very intimate with Leah too; we’re often pressed up uncomfortably near to her face, watching her reactions, the snap of her emotions, sucked right into her point of view. Leah seems to feel trapped in the repetitive routine of School, drinking with friends and moping at home, whilst being driven, sulking next to her mother. It’s clear that she’s still very much a child and her efforts to kick her way out of that role sends her down a darker and darker path.

I found Pyewacket fascinating and sad, and can highly recommend it for some deeply uneasy, mostly very subtle, horror. Like Hereditary on a sliver of the budget. Pyewacket requires applying a little empathy – but then most good horror, the kind that stays with you, does. If demons really exist, then please don’t mess with them. Their deals rarely turn out the way you hope. Just steal your mum’s credit card instead.

WARNING MASSIVE Spoilers in the section below that make more sense after you’ve watched it:

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