REVIEW: A Ghost Waits (2020) – FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition

dir. Adam Stovall.

Romantic love is, perhaps, one of the hardest thing to capture on screen, too often reduced to airbrushed swoon, comedic fumbling or saccharine cheese. But real connection – the meeting of two hearts and minds – is rare. So when it happens, it’s magic.

Writer / director Adam Stovall has captured just such alchemy in his superlative debut. The fact that the story involves a relationship between Jack (co-writer MacLeod Andrews), who is alive, and Muriel (newcomer Natalie Walker), who is very much deceased, is by the by.

Following a prelude where a terrified family flee from Muriel’s haunted house it falls to handyman Jack to fix the place up for the next tenants. Lonely but kind, Jack spends his days doing DIY, talking to himself and trying (unsuccessfully) to score a sofa to sleep on from nearby friends. Muriel does not take kindly to his intrusion, but her efforts to expel him don’t go as planned.

Stovall’s background in comedy and theatre shine as he marshals the single location setup with a visual flare that far outstrips the budget, simple in-camera tricks captured beautifully in bitter-sweet black and white. At a tight 79 minutes the pacing never feels tired, whilst the script positively crackles with affectionate charm brought to life (death?) by Andrews and Walker, both so effortlessly charming, so achingly real, that their trepidatious vulnerability is immediately disarming. Their work is so exceptional that when the finale hits like an unexpected kiss it’s delightful and deeply moving.

Not just one of the best films of FrightFest, A Ghost Waits might just be one of the best relationship films of the last decade, and will make you believe that perhaps there is love after death.

Tim Coleman

A GHOST WAITS has its World Premiere at FrightFest 2020 Digital Edition on 30th August 2020.

Published by Tim Coleman

Film critic. Screenwriter. Academic.

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