Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 08/20/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ghouls (Gary Jones, 2008)
Oh, William Atherton. Long ago was the time when your name on a production meant quality. Nowadays, it seems to do exactly the opposite. (Hmm, maybe The Last Samurai WASN'T Tom Cruise's fault?
...naah.) So when your name popped up in the opening credits of Ghouls, I pretty much knew what I was in for. I just didn't expect it to be this awful.
In any case, the painfully thin synopsis is that Atherton plays Stefan. Stefan's mom dies in the old country, and he rounds up his college-aged daughter Jen (the eye-popping Kristen Renton) and girlfriend Liz (Erin Gray-- yes, that Erin Gray) and they all head for some small, nameless country in Eastern Europe where the entire country shuns the village, and the entire village shuns them. Except, of course, for the family members-- and they're none too friendly, either. Things get a bit less dull when Jen runs into Thomas (James DeBello), a druid who's fighting the ghouls that haunt the town. (No, this isn't a spoiler, we find this out in the film's opening minutes, long before Jen does-- which was probably a bad idea on the part of the scriptwriter.)
Let me start by saying that the only possible reasons to watch this are to stare at Kristen Renton and if you're using it as the basis for a drinking game. Otherwise, give it the widest berth possible. Painful plot holes, inconsistent (and incompetent) characters, truly awful dialogue, the works. And, if I may be allowed a moment of sheer geekery, one should not call one's wraiths "ghouls", though these particular CGI monstrosities seem to be able to take either form at will. DeBello, who I thoroughly enjoyed in Cabin Fever, comes off here as a sort of low-rent Ray Liotta or Liev Schreiber (both of whom, I'm sure, turned this down and ran screaming, if it was offered to them), while Renton seesaws between disbelief and amusement (not at the events onscreen, at the script and the direction).
While in the annals of Sci-Fi Channel Original Films, this will not go down in history as the worst movie they've ever bankrolled (you'd have to sink a lot lower than this to get to the level of The Bone Eater), but it's in the bottom ten somewhere. Entirely awful. (half)
I'd rather watch paint dry.
romanticynic | just east of San Francisco | 09/07/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I've been watching this steaming pile of feces on tv for 85 minutes and I just can't take it any longer. Well, that's not entirely true. I've mostly been watching a cricket on the outside of my window. It has moved so little that I'm not sure it's alive, but it's way more interesting than Ghouls. Better plot and dialog, much more realistic special effects. I could tell you what's wrong with this flick, but I value my sanity too much to think about it. Besides, it's so easy to tell you what's right about it: nothing. Not a thing. Nada. Zip. It's not that I don't like z grade horror movies. I've cheerfully rented and then bought many horror flicks so bad that I would be ashamed to name them. But even I have some standards. Excuse me now, I have to go whack myself on the head with a big hammer until I forget all about this horrible flick."