Ghost Image

This is the kind of movie that is best seen at about 3:45 a.m. on cable TV. At that hour, your mind is only half awake and is unable to think critically about the story that is unfolding. You are also too damn tired to pick up the remote and actually change the channel. Unless the program is so glaringly bad that it sends a message straight to your cerebral cortex to wake up immediately, you'll either sit through the whole thing or fall asleep. As it is, there is nothing glaringly bad about Ghost Image, and in some ways that's a shame, because the film is so mundane it appears that the filmmakers themselves were only half awake during the production. Ghost Image chronicles a particularly bad week for mentally unstable documentary filmmaker Jennifer (Elisabeth Röhm). Following the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Wade Monroe (Waylon Payne), Jennifer begins to see the dead man talking to her through a videotape he made the night before his death. She starts to question her sanity – or rather, everyone else does – as she becomes obsessed with talking to her dead lover. Police detectives Amos (Roma Maffia) and Childers (David E. Webb) both consider her their prime suspect, dismissing her stories about a stalker who's been watching her and her claims of talking to the dead. Pile on some red-herring plots involving a local crime boss, Jennifer's ghostly sightings of her dead sister, and group scenes that look like outtakes from a rerun of Friends, and you have the makings of an especially lame late-night, cable-TV snack.

Elisabeth Röhm (perhaps best known as Angel’s Detective Kate Lockley) tries her best to do whatever the script requires of her. Scene one: act confused. Scene seven: act crazy. Scene 12: act bored, then cry. It's not so much a character she’s playing as a series of actions carried out to no end. She is a pawn of the writer, nothing more. The other cast members, all familiar faces from episodic TV like Rohm herself, are given both too much and too little to work with. Who cares if the no-nonsense police detective Amos paints in her spare time? It's a quirk that leads to a dead end in terms of plot and character.

Ghost Image is the kind of film that isn't really anything. It isn't really a "thriller," as there are no real thrills in it. It isn't really a "mystery," as the solution to the mystery is completely obvious. And it has many scenes designed to develop the characters, but fails to do so beyond the superficial. So, it isn't really a character drama, either. The film's content is completely tame, with low levels of violence and no sexual situations or nudity. There is no horror except for a few shots of a perfectly nice looking young girl with blood on her cheek. That said, the film's routine plot kind of works in its own beat-for-beat way and keeps you as involved as an old episode of a TV Cop show might. You stick around just to see if it all turns out the way you thought it would. It does. As this was a review copy only, there were no extras to mention except for the film's "theatrical" trailer. Though what "theater" this film played in is a bigger mystery than the one in the film itself.