Documentary Review: Ghost hunters of Mississippi visit “The House in Between”

Maybe it’s just me, but just once I’d like to see a “documentary” about aliens, mythic creatures, ghosts and the paranormal start from a position of “healthy skepticism.”

Yes, this baseball rolled off a staircase, on camera and seemingly on its own. And yes, the self-trained/self-anointed “experts” brought in a contractor to ensure that “The House in Between” is level, and an electrician to see if he could find no reason lights were/are flickering on and off.

But that doesn’t mean you’re licensed to go straight to “ghosts,” something from another dimension, psychic “energy” stored up in the limestone beneath the foundation and what not.

No, co-directors Steve Gonsalves and Kendall Whelpton, you or anyone else saying on camera “As soon as I came in the room, I felt uneasy,” doesn’t constitute “evidence.”

No, homeowner Alice Jackson, hyping the “fact” that “two mediums, who didn’t know each other” felt “a presence” is some irrefutable “fact.”

And former boxing reporter turned paranormal podcaster Brad Cooney, while video of a faintly rotating chandelier, its shiny shiny brass center capturing the reflection of two doors opening and closing, is a fascinating puzzle, that’s not “well documented” proof of the existence of ghosts.

Lacking that skepticism, with filmmakers hellbent on creating something “sensational” (meh) that fellow believers will want to see, “The House in Between” is never more than an endlessly-hyped collection “Didjoo SEE that? (We see nothing), “Hear THAT?” (maybe a thumb) moments. Is your picture really “balanced” with a couple of academics — one a foreign born physicist from Jackson State — politely indulging Gonsalves’ credulous questions and assertions, and gently suggesting that maybe “ghosts” aren’t the first “solution” to this puzzling house’s mystery.

“I don’t believe ghosts, I believe science,” a real physicist says, making us wonder why including Cooney’s drawled “It defies the laws of physics” assertion was a good idea.

Keeping the “technology” developed to “detect” spirits and the like at arm’s length was smart. A closer look might reveal how dubious that stuff is, no matter what the ad on eBay promised.

Give these folks the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn’t a hoax. But as curious as a couple of CCTV recorded “incidents” might be, there’s nothing here demanding that the viewer do what the filmmakers and their self-trained experts do — leap to the conclusion that they’ve got “proof” of anything paranormal.

But but, “a famous ‘alien abduction‘ happened”…just uh “three hours” from this house…in 1973. That doesn’t make the sale, any more than the fact that this house is on the Buckle of America’s Gullible Belt — Florence, Mississippi.

Rating: unrated

Cast: Alice Jackson, Steve Gonsalves, Brad Cooney, John Bullard

Credits: Directed by Steve Gonsalves and Kendall Whelpton. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:20

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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