Eric Hayes is a stringer. One notch below the lowest rung of the journalistic ladder. A video vulture preying on police chases, ambulance runs, and random street violence, selling his ...
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Jack Edward Sawyers,
Sara Jean Barrett,
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Eric Hayes is a stringer. One notch below the lowest rung of the journalistic ladder. A video vulture preying on police chases, ambulance runs, and random street violence, selling his footage to the highest bidder and living on a steady diet of cigarettes and bloodlust. For years, Eric has lived off of other people's pain and misery. But he's about to discover something beneath the streets of Los Angeles even hungrier for blood than he is. He's about to discover THE GHOULS. Written by
Arthur 'Weegee' Fellig, a famous crime-scene photographer in the 1920s and 1930s was the main inspiration of Eric Hayes. The original news stringer, Fellig was licensed to possess a "scanner" radio that allowed him to listen to frequencies used by the police and fire departments. This enabled him to arrive at crime and fire scenes, sometimes before the authorities did, as if informed by telepathic powers, to which his nickname, a corruption of "Ouija", alludes. See more »
Midnight Meat Train, but with no budget and less talent.
The plot: A parasitic bottom feeder stumbles into a horrific world, hidden inside the darkest alleys of the worst slums.
The Ghouls is basically a rehash of Clive Barker's 1984 short story Midnight Meat Train (which was adapted into a pretty good movie), but there are echoes of many other influences. Indeed, it seems to revel in making references to cult horror. Unfortunately, there really isn't all that much going on beneath the surface. This sort of story has been told many times. You get some despicable, scum of the Earth photographer/reporter, throw them in with a monster, compare and contrast, and then let the audience decide who's worse. Stephen King did it in The Night Flier, which used a vampire, and Clive Barker did it in The Midnight Meat Train, which used ghouls. I'm sure someone out there has done zombies or demons. Probably Poppy Z. Brite.
When I saw Trent Haaga and James Gunn were involved, I knew it was going to be low budget, but I didn't realize it was going to be quite THIS low budget. It was distracting at first, but I eventually got used to it. The directing, acting, and cinematography were all amateurish, but I guess I got used to that, too. The gore was actually kind of competent.
Unfortunately, much of the movie focuses on long, drawn-out scenes where nothing much happens, characters have repetitive flashbacks, or somebody ingests their drug of choice. I guess it sets the mood, but it's also a bit boring. Probably half of the movie feels like it's moody filler. Shaky, hand-held shots take up another chunk of the movie's runtime, as the film's protagonist is a cameraman. That doesn't leave a whole lot of runtime available to tell the story. Luckily, the story isn't really all that complicated.
In the end, the themes end up being more interesting than the story, and the gore effects maintain your interest more than anything else. If you're able to enjoy guerrilla filmmaking and indie horror, and you aren't looking for much more than a splatter movie with some interesting themes, then this movie can actually work for you. It's dark (metaphorically and literally), grim, and moody. However, it's also inept, amateurish, and kind of boring. It reminds me of Shatter Dead. If you found Shatter Dead exciting, different, and full of spirit, then you should give The Ghouls a try. If you hated Shatter Dead, then don't even think about trying to watch this.
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