Movie Review: “Ghoul”


A film crew hoping to shoot a killer pilot for a TV series on “Cannibals of the 20th Century” — no doubt Discovery is interested — heads into rural Ukraine to document a mass murderer and cannibal who survived Stalin’s attempt to starve Ukraine into oblivion.
They get more than they bargained for. But, as always, their footage survives, even if not all of them did.
“Ghoul” is a semi-subtitled variation on a “Blair Witch” theme — with dogged Ryan (Paul S. Tracey) hell-bent on getting the footage and the interviews they need, no matter what, and girlfriend/interviewer Jenny (Jennifer Armour) freaking out as Ukrainian things start going bump in the night.
There’s a translator ( Alina Golovyova) trapped with them, a “guide” who ditched them in the run-down farm house of this killer and a “psychic” who may or may not be tricking them as a drinking glass slips back and forth over a Russian version of a Ouija board, a pentangle carved into the killer’s dining room table.
“You can’t leave here,” she warns. “We’re going to die,” Jenny assumes.
Nothing new to see here, just a trapped day and night and so on as the two locals and three Americans face their fate, or try to reason their way out of it. With their shaky camera documenting all of it, night and day. The performances don’t register, the filmmaking produces a couple of hair-raising images and a few ghoulish/gross ones. Otherwise? There are scarier pictures of fresher Russian atrocities in Ukraine on the evening news.

MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic violence, sexuality, profanity

Cast: Jeremy Isabella, Jennifer Armour, Debra Garza, Paul S. Tracey, Alina Golovlyova
Credits: Directed by Petr Jákl, written by Petr Bok and Petr Jákl. A Vega, Baby! release.

Running time: 1:26

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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