What the box promises:
“Five college students set out to document ghosts on video in Haunted Goldfield Nevada, never imagining what horrors await them in Room 109.”
With an opening reminiscent of the “Blair Witch Project”, “Ghosts of Goldfield” sets up like a fun build movie. The five college students are well-meaning Dean, smart-ass Chad, hot girl Julie, preppy Keri, and smart-ass Mike. Within minutes, their Ford Explorer breaks down, and, like those crazy college kids do all the time, they start walking to town. They come across (why not) an old graveyard, and Julie begins having visions and hearing whispers in her head. Her visions are from events in the past, but somehow, each of her friends is present in them.
Viewers can quickly identify who the cocky guy is, who the primadonna is, and who is going to make it out alive, even though the 80’s stereotypes of jocks and stoners are overlooked. They soon realize they’ve walked not only directly into a ghost town, but right up to the very bar they need to reach their contact and conduct their investigation. The plan was to stay in a hotel, but the creepy bartender says there isn’t a hotel within a hundred miles.
This crew isn’t trained Ghost busters. They’re students, shooting as they see fit…and drinking as well. The bartender with a nasty lack of patience warned them not to tough anything, and definitely not to visit room 109. Of course, the students are determined to hit that spot, but they do some cursory exploration first, building out the theme of the hotel and establishing some more creepiness.
As they take a food break, Julie explains the myth of the ghost, Elizabeth. She had the love of the hotel owner, George Winfield, and was pregnant was his baby. Though, Elizabeth’s love wasn’t shared with George, but with another. George found out and slaughtered Elizabeth and the baby, and she haunts the hotel, intent on revenge. Given the images Julie has seen, it isn’t long before the crew realizes the story of Elizabeth might just be real, and that their lives, or whoever they were in the past, make up the exact recipe for her revenge.
They investigate the hotel, splitting up, and viewers find out that Keri is a bit of a kleptomaniac. Julie becomes convinced that Elizabeth is present, and asks the team to review their recordings. They’re all blank. Nothing has been recorded on video, but Dean, the sound specialist, tells another story. Elizabeth’s voice cuts through the recordings like a knife. The ghost is present, and all five of the crew faces the fact that this ghost hunting might be the real deal.
When the investigation goes cold, the film team goes to the heart of the matter…Room 109. Chad, Dean and Julie take the ghost hunting up a notch, while Keri and Mike decide that a bottle of vodka and some heavy petting is more important than surviving the night. Ah, teenagers.
Just as hormones outweigh common sense, the blood begins to flow. Elizabeth’s quest for revenge begins. Then…when viewers least expect it…enter ”Rowdy” Roddy Piper! Hell yeah. Only this time, he’s not battling aliens, or Hulk Hogan…he’s Elizabeth’s lover, and father of the slain infant, distributing curses like he dealt out insults in The Piper’s Pit.
Mike has betrayed Julie. Keri has betrayed Dean. A ghost in on the loose and everyone is caught up so much in their soap opera drama that they don’t have the sense to leave. Julie knows that her grandmother is responsible for the death of Elizabeth and her baby, and she still doesn’t have the sense to leave. Anyone else see the doomed, stupid teen angle here? It’s pretty blatant, especially when Michael and Teri wind up individually isolated from the rest of the group.
And…begin the body count. The film takes forever to start the slaughter, and makes up for that by whacking everyone just moments apart. Almost everyone. You-know-who is left alive, and confronts Elizabeth face-to-face, hoping to end the curse and provide peace to her family, and the tormented ghost haunting the hotel.
Have you ever seen “Death Tunnel”, which featured the stories from Kentucky’s Waverly Hills Sanitarium? What about “Session 9”, shot in the Danvers State Insane Asylum in Massachusetts? Both films played the psych angle better than this one.
With a soundtrack that is half simplistic orchestra music, and half Whale calls, there isn’t much to create tension between the action shots of the film. The characters are stereotypes, and viewers will be clamoring for some of them to die, and some of them to survive. Very little goes any way but expected in among the “Ghosts of Goldfield.”
Chad (Twilight’s Kellen Lutz) and Julie (Charmed’s Marnette Patterson) are just fine in their limited roles. Every other role is too limited to present any kind of judgment, including Piper, whose screen time is a fraction of any match he ever had against Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. The effects are steady and the sound editing is very well done, but there’s little substance to the script and the story that lead up to the film’s finale’. All that said, the payoff is a bit unexpected, and may satisfy some viewers, if not all.
Extras include a trailer, and a gallery of stills. The film is shot in Widescreen format, and runs almost exactly 90 minutes.
Pass on this one in favor of another proposed “thriller.” Ghosts of Goldfield has no thrills, no scares, and no reason to spend 90 minutes watching it unfold.