The Ghost Within is a British horror film directed by Lawrence Fowler that promises spine-tingling terror inside an old manor house. Sadly, the unconvincing acting, amateur direction, and subpar script ruin what could have been a chilling ghost story.
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The movie’s premise is intriguing and soothingly familiar. A young married woman named Margot (Michaela Longden) and her wannabe writer husband, Mason (Tom Millen), move into her childhood home so she can remember her past trauma. Margot is in danger of being placed in a mental health asylum.
Nevertheless, Margot’s therapist suggests the young woman go back to her childhood home, where the terrible thing happened to her. I’m no expert, but that sounds like a bad idea.
Upon arrival at the mansion, Mason is shocked to learn that his wife’s family is wealthy, and he seemingly knows nothing about the murder of Margot’s little sister, Evie. While the girl’s father confessed to killing little Evie, Margot believes there’s more to the story, and she strongly suspects their stepmother, Nancy (Georgina Jane), was the killer.
Poor Mason isn’t winning any Husband of the Year awards, but it’s interesting to see how little he knows about the woman he married. The film does start with them jointly attending her psychiatric appointment, so it’s hard to believe no details of her past emerged during any of these sessions.
At the old manor, Margot starts seeing the ghost of her dead sister while Mason decides to go galavanting with his mistress/publishing agent, Greta (Sarah Alexandra Marks). According to his agent, who’s in love with him (so a bit biased), Mason is a brilliant writer. Unfortunately, the publishing houses refuse to offer him book deals.
Margot asks a paranormal investigator (played by Simon Davies) to help her find out if the visions of her dead sister are real or just a figment of her imagination.
An amateurish low-budget ghost story
The Ghost Within shows some promise, in the way a first-year Film student’s project would. Some of the cinematography looks good, and the ghost of Evie is scary. The jump-scares were also cleverly put together. You probably won’t see most of them coming.
As a first draft, the story about a young woman returning to her childhood home to learn what happened to her sister is interesting enough. It combines the classic ghost tale with an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery.
Unfortunately, the film itself is hard to watch and not in a so-bad-it’s-good way. It’s just bad. The acting is atrocious, and the cast looks like they’re doing first reads for a theatre play. There are far too many unnecessary scenes that add nothing to the story. For example, did we need a two-minute scene where Mason meets with the publisher who won’t offer him a book deal? Do publishers make a habit of inviting writers to in-person meetings only to reject them?
Questioning Margot’s mental health would be a compelling idea if the writers bothered to do the slightest bit of research on the subject. Suspending disbelief tends to be a compulsory part of enjoying these types of movies, but The Ghost Within doesn’t even try to make itself plausible.
It’s hard to understand how this movie made its way to the cinemas. Aside from a few cool jumpscares, The Ghost Within feels like watching an amateur Film student project.