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Ghost in the Machine
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Reviews & Ratings for
Ghost in the Machine More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

THIS SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH!! I LOVED IT!!

Author: caspargirl54 from Muskogee, OK, USA
8 July 2004

I saw this film on regular TV a few years back, and I watched because I like Karen Allen. I REALLY enjoyed this film, and YES, I WOULD RENT IT. It had good special effects and I thought the plot was great. A lot of people have seen this film, so that tells you that at least the title is a grabber. I go against all the nay-sayers though, and say this is worth your time if you like scary flicks. I remember the ending being especially suspenseful, right down to the final minutes. I do not watch every horror film that comes along, and most of them are forgettable anyway, but this one has always stuck with me. I would definitely give it FOUR STARS. (Hey, the majority is not always right!)

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great beginning, not-bad middle, horrible ending

6/10
Author: boondocksaint20 from Charleston, SC
22 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This one flies like an airplane that is suddenly without a pilot; soaring at first, then, gradually, spinning out of control, and plummeting to its own doom. I was in the video store, looking for some mindless entertainment, and came across this one. I vaguely remember this one being out in theaters (I think I was 13 at the time), and since I couldn't remember if it was well received or not, I coughed up the 99 cents and brought it home anyway. What I got was only slightly better than average entertainment.

The beginning is actually really good, believe it or not. I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I thought the guy playing the serial killer did a very convincing and rather frightening job. He really had me convinced that this was another one of those people in the news that could do such horrible things, and act like the quiet guy next door. I thought one of the opening scenes where you see the back side of a couch with a whole family watching tv, and then it pans around and you see them horribly mutilated was rather shocking, and in a weird type of sense, well done. The movie really had my attention at that point, especially when the mom (Karen Allen) and her son go into a computer store, and boom, there's the killer right there. I thought the whole idea about an address book killer was really good and original...I'll say again, this one had my interest peaked, only until I realized that I made the fatal mistake of reading the back cover of the box...at that point, I was simply dreading the part when the killer gets zapped into the electrical wires...boy are my instincts ever right.

Before I start bashing this one, I have to say it may not have been a fairly original concept, but the writers sure dish out very creative ways to execute (no pun intended) some of the scenes in this one. This was made during the early days of windows, and even the internet (around 1993), or at least, when it was becoming popular in homes. Man, talk about deja vu all over again. Anyway, I did think it was cool how the killer got into this huge mainframe, obviously connected to some Central Office or some point of presence somewhere, and could get into people's houses when they simply dialed into the mainframe. He follows people everywhere, and begins to methodically kill everyone on the address book that Karen Allen leaves in the store.

***POSSIBLE, BUT UNLIKELY SPOILERS AHEAD***

The killings are way drawn out, not suspenseful, and will sometimes make you laugh at how ridiculous they are and how they are trying so hard to scare you. The part where the dog is watching the doggie show on tv and then the vhs tape spits out at him was classic...I almost choked on my beer with that one. But, you have to give the filmmakers credit, they tried really hard to make you scared, and at times, with little scenes here and there (a bowl of grapes deflating due to a bezerk microwave, the killer's garbled voice on the phone line, the body flying out of the oven while being cremated and of course, my favorite, the washing machine that displays sadistic wash cycles such as 'explode' and 'die'. Quite creepy, I must say when you see the scene.) their efforts shine. However, the deaths are pretty stupid and pretty pointless, except to continue where the address book killer left off by killing all of Karen Allen's friends. And then there are some really bad inconsistencies...the WORST being when the son finally discovers that the recent murders are all happening in the order that they appear in Karen Allen's missing address book. Well, our three heroes not only DON'T bother to look to see who is next on the list to be slaughtered, but guess where the mother hides the son in the next scene? You guessed it, with THE SAME person who is next on the list, as we find out 5 minutes later. I was screaming, YOU STUPID IDIOT!! All you had to do was look on the stupid list and avoid that person like the plague! By the way, the scene with the trigger happy police sure would spell L-A-W-S-U-I-T.

The acting is not bad, especially the guy who played the computer hacker extraordinare, Chris Mulkey I think is his name, anyways, he's in a few B-Movies and his acting is surprisingly good. And I have to admit, the kid is actually a competent, believable and effective child actor for this movie, and that is saying a lot since most child actors overact or can't act at all. Karen Allen, what happened to you? You were the hottie with an attitude in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Boone's girlfriend who slept with the english teacher in Animal House. Her acting is pretty bad, and apparently, age did not favor her too well. She just doesn't show any emotion or shock when people or pets in her life suddenly start dropping like flies. And as I said earlier, the guy who plays the serial killer, for the 15 minutes that he is actually on screen in the beginning, he is really chilling to watch. I was wishing throughout the whole movie that they would have just made this movie into a film about the address book killer, in the flesh, without the 'techno thriller/killer comes back from the dead' aspect. Like I said, the opening scene with the dead family is disturbingly creepy, as well as when you see the killer in the store, licking his fingers which are caked with what appears to be dried blood.

As for the special effects, aside from the quite well-done scenes of the killer traveling through the wires and going through people's systems, the effects are horribly bad in most areas, especially the end. The end is the worst part of this film. No entertainment value at all. The special effects are just gruesome looking at the end...enough said.

All in all, not a bad movie. If you end up watching this, you will probably be like me in saying that it starts off great, but then gradually begins to suck. This movie, though, as you can tell, was really on the money with the technology at the time, which, in some small ways (and I mean in very basic ways) is up to date. Being an Information Systems major, it was amusing to see how far we've come in ten years and then some. I liked the technical aspect, but as for the horror aspect, the movie falls flat on its face 20 minutes into the film. Basically, once the killer goes into 'the machine', the movie dilapidates into eventually, a sorry excuse for an ending I've seen in a long time. But still, not a bad time waster overall. I'd love to give this one 7 stars for being a slightly better than average movie, but I just can't, it wouldn't seem right to the other 7's I've given over the years, LOL. Because it has very few redeeming qualities, or scares for that matter, despite an interesting premise, occasional moments of great (though, few and far between) filmmaking and a great beginning, this one gets 6/10 stars. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Serial Killer's Soul Invades Computer Mainframe...

6/10
Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
5 December 2006

I thought THE NET with Sandra Bullock was pretty over-the-top in the way her identity was so completely stolen, but it made a smashingly interesting thrill flick. However, THE NET was nothing compared to the overripe imagination of the screenwriter for THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE.

Computer tekkies will love all the computer graphics involved here in showing how a serial killer, during an MRI power surge, gets his killer soul inserted into a network of computers so that he becomes the hacker from hell. KAREN ALLEN is his main victim, since he was an employee in a store where she was looking for a computerized address book. He has designs on her the moment he sees her with her young son (WIL HORNEFF).

But she's not the only victim he seeks from her address book. Several others meet their imaginative deaths because of his stalking them through his computer wizardry (in most improbable and highly unlikely ways). But logic is the ingredient missing from the entire concept of this horror story that has fun devising various gruesome deaths for at least four or five people. CHRIS MULKEY is good as a computer wizard who helps her combat and ultimately destroy the virus which takes human form in the shape of graphic bits.

Not really as bad as it sounds but all the graphics become a bit tiresome after awhile. I thought one of the best scenes had the automatic awning on the swimming pool covering almost the entire pool in ominous fashion, until the boy decides to swim underneath it to adjust the controls. That bit of natural horror was scarier than some of the computer graphic nonsense.

Summing up: Not bad as these sort of things go. Holds the attention but demands complete suspension of logic.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Amazing and Touching Film

Author: benchillin83
6 September 2001

"Ghost in the Machine" provided the best entertainment in years. The special effects were phenomenal and the acting was superb. I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie. The best part was when the dishwasher was put on the command "EXPLODE"! Wow, I was flabbergasted and appalled. The men and women involved with this movie are geniouses. I applaud them for their creativity and hope to see a sequel to this movie in the near future.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Well, I still like it!

5/10
Author: dinsvin from Denmark
14 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To tell the truth, this movie isn't all that good. It doesn't cross the line of being so bad that it's funny, it's too good-clean-family-fun for that. BUT! If you like SFX like the ones in "TRON" (I'm not comparing it to "TRON" at all, it doesn't even come anywhere close!) then you might wanna see this one as well. The movie is funny in the way that half of the scenes supposed to be scary or kewl doesn't pull through but then the other half works fine. It's like they never really finished the whole movie properly. One supposed-to-be-scary scene that totally fails is when the kid almost gets caught under the automatic swimming pool cover… Really! Not believing it, it's rather poorly made and what are those tentacles (or wires I suppose?) he's pulling on? Allso you have to sit through the moralizing statement that hackers should think twice before committing crime…! Ohh, go suck a bug! The catchphrase of the movie also happens to be the plot "There is no way anyone can kill somebody with a computer!" My reason for watching this is the early days of computers, cyberspace and Virtual Reallity plot and the SFX's. Furthermore the director Rachel Talalay has done pretty kewl stuff like "Nightmare on Elm Street" but her best work so far; "Tank Girl" 1994 is one of my favorites so I had to see this one as well! So if you're in the mood for some light movie watching this is what I recommend! NJOY!

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16 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

So bad its good!

Author: Bobzilla85 from Alexandria, VA
29 July 2002

This is one of those films that is so flagrantly horrible that its actually good, in the vein of Godzilla - its the type of film that you can watch on a Saturday night with a group of buddies and laugh your @$$ off to, the deaths are hilarious in their extravagance, and the killer is laughable along with the plot...read the prior reviews to get the jist of the movie, but read this one if you would like to know a good, bad movie.

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15 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

The Ghost in the Machine!

10/10
Author: Movie Nuttball from U.S.A.
20 January 2005

The Ghost in the Machone is a very good scientific horror film that has a good cast which includes Karen Allen, Chris Mulkey, Rick Ducommun, Ted Marcoux, Wil Horneff, Jessica Walter, Brandon Quintin Adams, and Nancy Fish. The acting by all of these actors is very good. Karen Allen and Chris Mulkey are excellent in this film. The action is good. The music is very good by Graeme Revell. The film is quite exciting and the movie has some great horror moments! This is a very good and thrilling film. Karen Allen, Chris Mulkey, Rick Ducommun, Nancy Fish, and the rest of the cast I've mentioned above, thrillers, Sci-Fi, horror, and exciting action films then I recommend this film!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Vidiot Reviews...

6/10
Author: capone666 from Canada
7 January 2011

Ghost in the Machine

The worst thing about being an online serial killer is that Internet users can leave comments about how "gay" your murders are.

Fortunately, the serial killer caught in cyberspace here can retaliate against such cowardly remarks.

When the Address Book Killer (Ted Marcoux) gets into an accident, he's taken to the hospital. As his injured body lies inside of an MRI, an electrical storm causes his mind to be transferred into a nearby computer.

Able to continue carrying out his murderous rampage, by possessing electrical appliances, ABK targets Terry (Karen Allen) and the contacts in her little black book.

Now, her and her computer hacker friend must trick the killer into accepting a virus.

Although dated, and poorly acted, this 1993 horror movie has some interesting ideas when it comes to cyber-slayings.

As for how to spot an online serial killer – they're the one who's wearing someone else's profile picture. (Yellow Light)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Agreeable escapism.

7/10
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
11 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not bad techno-thriller is reasonably slick and well paced, and delivers some okay thrills for not particularly demanding viewers. Granted, it requires one to completely suspend their disbelief, but that hardly makes it unique for this kind of thing. If you can buy into it for entertainments' sake, you may find it to your liking.

The story deals with a sick, sadistic psycho killer who robs address books from people and then murders everybody in the books. (One would think this would keep him pretty damn busy.) His name is Karl Hochman (Ted Marcoux), and he works as a technician at a computer store. While on his way to murder his latest victim, single mom Terry Munroe (Karen Allen, appealing as always) he gets impatient and gets into a horrible car accident. While his body is being scanned at a hospital, his "imprint" or "soul" or whatever is sucked into a computer mainframe thanks to a power surge. In this form he can then continue to stalk Terry, ruining her credit and depleting her bank account, while going about slaughtering those in *her* address book. His ingenious methods have him utilizing various electrical devices. Two delicious set pieces involve a hot air blower in a washroom and a microwave oven. You have to see these to believe them.

Director Rachel Talalay rebounds somewhat from her fumbled, lame debut of "Freddy's Dead" in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise by keeping this moving well enough no matter how much the script, by William Osborne and William Davies, may have us shaking our heads. Allen is great, although her characters' cluelessness may frustrate some in the audience. The film also gives a nice co-starring role to veteran supporting and character actor Chris Mulkey, as the outlaw hacker turned respectable employee who becomes the hero of the piece. Marcoux is a hoot as the very unsubtle villain (he actually *sniffs* Terry's address book, for Gods' sake!). Wil Horneff is decent as Terry's rebellious son, and Jessica Walter ("Play Misty for Me", 'Arrested Development') is on hand as Terry's mom. The supporting players include such familiar faces as Brandon Quintin Adams (the lead of another horror film, Wes Cravens' "The People Under the Stairs"), Rick Ducommun, Nancy Fish, Carl Gabriel Yorke, Chris Ellis, and 'The West Wing' cast member Richard Schiff in a bit; Schiffs' brother Paul was the films' producer. Super sexy Shevonne Durkin provides appreciable eye candy as the babysitter. The various computer generated special effects are well done, and overall this is diverting stuff for anybody ready to turn off their brains for an hour and a half. One thing you have to enjoy is the image of the killers' creative way of staging a family night at home.

Seven out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good escapism, but could've been more

7/10
Author: sgtking from United States
3 June 2014

In the 1980s, practical effects reigned supreme in genre films. In the coming decade, visual effects were reaching a new height. Things not possible before were becoming just the opposite. It would make it easier to transport audiences to new worlds. 'Jurassic Park' is an example of film utilizing digital effects beautifully. That same year saw the release of a film that would bring the slasher film into the 90s. Using state of the art visuals, it would attempt to breath life into a well worn sub-genre. The result is not all it could've been, but is still above average.

Pros: Solid performances. Stylish direction. Effective score. Interesting twist on the slasher film. Inventive death scenes. Good practical and some decent visual effects. Quick pace.

Cons: Serious lack of suspense. Case of style over substance. Some of the effects look silly now.

Final thoughts: A critical and financial failure, 'Ghost in the Machine' is not nearly so bad. The talented cast and director make it a worthwhile experience. The problem lies with the script, which sadly is pretty thin. A shame because like 'Nightmare on Elm Street,' this was an interesting new spin on slasher films. Still, it's a fun way to kill 90 minutes.

My rating: 3.5/5

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