British independent horror film ‘Judas Ghost’, based on New York Times best-selling author Simon R Green’s ‘Ghost Finders’ book series tells us that “Ghosts don’t make bad places. Bad places make ghosts”. The title ‘Judas Ghost’ comes from the term “Judas Goat” which is commonly used at slaughterhouses to describe a trained goat who leads the other goats to slaughter. While we were expecting the film to be a “found-footage” film in the style of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, what we got was more of a fantasy look into the paranormal including scenes that seemed to pay homage to ‘Ghost Busters’.
In the film a team of ghost hunters are tasked with the assignment of investigating a haunted hall where all the children receiving care have stopped coming because of the paranormal activity that has been occurring. At the same time, the team is filming an instructional video for the Carnac Institute so some shots are filmed with a handheld with gives those moments a shaky and more realistic feel.
The team of four is led by a fearless Jerry Mackay (Martin Delaney) who has a “know-it-all” and “self-promoting” personality while still showing a genuine care for the team. Anna Gilmour (Lucy Cudden” is the typical psychic/empath who knows that something is definitely wrong when she’s not able to pick up any impressions. The team is rounded out by tech manager Ian Calder (Alexander Perkins) who is the fearful one on the team and videographer Mark Vega (Simon Merrells) who in the recent past was in a mental hospital due to an incident that happened on a paranormal investigation at an Abbey and who now holds a dark secret. As the entire film was filmed in one room the actors are what made this film work. The special effects, while obviously done on a minimal budget, were effective and the music and cinematography created an eerie environment (in what to the viewer was an just another typical large room).
In the beginning of the film nothing much happens, but soon the paranormal events begin. The scene goes from light outside to pitch black in just a moment and the only door that presents a way in and out appears and disappears on a few occasions. As the activity escalates leading to the appearance of Judas Ghost, a telephone is answered to hear a demonic voice, objects spontaneously go up in flames and a piano plays by itself. The team creates a circle of protection to protect them from the negative force, but how long will it keep them safe from the menacing presence? The dark secret Mark holds from the Abbey that is similar to the hall haunting soon is made known and the cause of the paranormal activity soon becomes evident, leaving us with unanswered questions at the end such as ‘what happens now?” The film has a nice buildup and the character of Judas Ghost is played to creepy perfection by Grahame Fox. The only thing about this movie is you have to suspend your desire to debunk and some of the deaths, after the character development, happens so fast that at times it doesn’t allow compassion for the character as they simply disappear.