Spirit Stalkers (2012)

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Spirit Stalkers is about a group of ghost hunters with their own TV show called – wait for it – Spirit Stalkers. The goal of the show is simple: Find ghosts. The difference being that they actually try to come up with rational, scientific explanations for any phenomena they come across. Unfortunately, every time the hosts declare “Mystery Solved!” their ratings take a dip and the show is under imminent threat of cancellation if they don’t find some real ghosts soon.

Enter Gloria, troubled homeowner who’s new dwelling seems to be besieged with strange phenomena. The only problem, are the strange occurrences the result of an actual haunting, or are they the result of Gloria’s well-documented, troubled mind?

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Dude, it’s not a ghost. Chill.

Spirit Stalkers is a movie filmed on a low budget and it shows. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t impressed by it. What it lacks in production values it makes up for in atmosphere. It’s a nice reminder that music, angle and mood can go a long way in setting a tone in a horror movie without those expensive CGI shots. There were times in this movie when I felt actual apprehension for poor Gloria as she walked around a house, not knowing what the hell was going on. And I haven’t felt that particular creepy tingle in a long time.

Most of the cast looks to be made up of the director/lead actor’s family, friends and probably some other random acquaintances. This makes the acting a bit hit-or-miss and, honestly, I was more entertained by some of the side characters than I was with much of the main cast. And that’s not to say that the acting was bad, just that some of it often felt a little off. For instance, Steve Hodgin’s character would be going for earnest, but end up coming across as a little too earnest and I felt that Gloria’s ex-husband went from not showing enough emotion to almost going full on berserk. They’re little things, sure, but the film still seems to flow rather well, even with the occasional hiccup.

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The movie is filmed in both normal (Gloria’s perspective) and a more ‘tv/found’ style (I wouldn’t call it Found Footage. It doesn’t quite come across that way), though the latter segments are regulated to the moments when the Spirit Stalkers are doing their show. There really is little difference between the two methods of filming, and the transitions are so smooth that they’re not even close to jarring, even when the two meld together when Gloria and the Spirit Stalker crew finally meet up.

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One nice thing I found about the movie was the premise of the Spirit Stalker show itself. This isn’t your typical show where they use a bunch of heavy, fancy equipment and walk around in the dark looking for ghosts. The Spirit Stalker crew works with the lights on and investigates sights hoping for ghosts, but looking for reasonable explanations for the phenomena they’re there to investigate. It’s a nice change of pace from what we’ve grown to expect from these shows.

Overall, I was quite happy with this low-budget affair. It may have be shot cheaply and have so-so acting, but the effective atmosphere more than makes up for it. People who enjoy ghost stories should give this one a shot. As low-budget films go, it’s not too bad.

Spirit Stalkers is available on a variety of streaming services.

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Michi

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