LAFF: Ghost Light Review

Ghost Light Theatrical Poster

Those of you who aren’t into theater may not know of the Macbeth curse. The curse is basically the superstition that you cannot say the word Macbeth in a theater unless you’re rehearsing or performing the play. Otherwise, disaster may cause some sort of disaster upon you, the play, the theater, or all three. Theater actors take this curse very seriously. That’s why it’s nice to see John Stimpson poke fun of this superstition in his film, Ghost Light. But is Ghost Light an effective parody of the Macbeth curse?

Unfortunately, no. Ghost Light features an incredible cast of comedic talent but the fails to get a ton of laughs.

Ghost Light follows a Shakespearean troupe who is set to perform Macbeth at a sleepy small town. However, they unleash the infamous curse of Macbeth to horrifying results.

Ghost Light - Roger Bart & Cary Elwes

Even though Ghost Light is supposed to poke fun at theater actors’ fear of the Macbeth curse, the film is rarely funny. Even with all of the comedic talent on the cast, a lot of the jokes and gags just fall flat. Not to mention, the deadpan delivery by a lot of the cast doesn’t work either. Luckily the supporting characters, make up for the lack of laughs from the main characters. Be that as it may, once the curse of Macbeth starts rearing its ugly head, that’s when the film starts to become really funny. The ridiculousness seeing everyone react to the curse’s shenanigans is hilarious.

Unfortunately, the film does take its time to showcase the curse’s powers. It’s not a situation where the curse progressively messes with everyone. Instead, Ghost Light sporadically spreads out these instances until the final act.

That’s because the film tries to establish the characters in the film. Sadly, a lot of the characters are people that you don’t care about. The problem stems from the lack of likeability with the main characters. In addition, there isn’t a lot of redeeming qualities to these characters either.

Ghost Light - Tom Riley & Shannyn Sossamon

At least, the cast is mostly good. Roger Bart gives a stale performance as Henry Asquith. Even as the director of the Shakespearean troupe, he rarely shows any emotion. Nevertheless, his facial expressions are where he provides the most entertainment.

Tom Riley plays his part too perfectly. He’s able to be such a prick that you won’t be able to like his character. Also, his high-and-mighty personality is another turn-off but once again, Riley portrays this really well. But his performance isn’t just about being a prick because he has such great comedic timing and reactions to the curse.

Shannyn Sossamon has a completely different performance than Riley does. There’s a lot of range to Sossamon’s performance. Not to mention, the film has her doing a lot of things that the other cast members aren’t required to do. She has to repeat scenes, be more physical, and be more tortured—just to name a few.

Cary Elwes is a bit of an anomaly in Ghost Light. Although he’s one of the major characters, he doesn’t feel like a major part of the film. There’s also a duality to his performance that doesn’t seem to mesh together well. On the other hand, his cluelessness and naivety are really funny to watch. Plus, he also acts and looks like Ned Flanders in “Oh, Streetcar.”

As for the rest of the cast, they provide the film with a lot of the laughs. Even though they don’t provide the film anything significant, they, at least, give us some laughs.

Overall, Ghost Light is a mostly unfunny film that doesn’t make good use of the talented cast. It’s a shame since the film and its premise had the chance to be an incredibly funny film. It has moments of hilarity but not enough to what it could’ve been.

Rating: 2/5 atoms

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