"Ghost Son" is Lamberto Bava's best film and, at the same time, also his worst. I suppose that statement requires some slight clarification. It's his best because it's well directed, ambitious, accessible and very stylish, but his worst because it's a dull, unoriginal movie and undeniably a huge letdown to all the real fans of Bava's past efforts. Let's face it: many fans, myself certainly included, wouldn't have been interested in this film judging by the plot, the famous names attached to it and even the boring sounding title. The only motivation here was Lamberto Bava, who brought us large amounts of convoluted Gialli and fun splatter films in the past. "Ghost Son" is a bit of his comeback film, alongside "The Torturer", and although the latter definitely isn't a good film, it at least lives up to his fans' lines of expectations, with excessive amounts of sleaze, blood and sadism. "Ghost Son" is a weak and intolerably soft horror film, even talking in terms of mainstream ghost stories. The emphasis lies too much on sentimentality, and this badly affects the already limited number of horrific & creepily atmospheric moments. The basic premise might feature one or two potentially good ideas, but the film is overall dull and far too clichéd. John Hannah and Laura Harring star as a happy couple, living on a remote ranch in South Africa and breeding horses for a living. The joy and happiness couldn't possibly improve, so naturally something tragic is bound to happen, and it does. Mark dies in a car accident, but the inconsolable Stacey remains at the ranch where she's in constant contact with Mark's spirit. She even gets pregnant with his child, but shortly after baby Martin's birth mysterious events begin to occur. It seems as if Mark's restless and selfish ghost 'possessed' the baby and uses him to encourage Stacy into committing suicide. With all the focus on the couple's relationship, many of the events and sub plots are underdeveloped and/or remains unexplained, like the whole background of the youthful maid Thandi. There's too little action and the only real fright-moments are too obviously borrowed from classic films such as "The Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby" (vomiting green goo, self moving furniture
). Purely talking in terms of horrific entertainment "Ghost Son" is a painful misfire, but it has to be said, it's a beautiful and enchanting looking failure. The cinematography is extremely elegant and many camera angles are truly inventive and suggestive. The moody score sometimes even manages to create an ominous atmosphere even though there's nothing of any significance happening on screen. There are several beautiful images of the South African wildlife to admire but, if that interests you, I suppose you're better off watching National Geographic instead. Not much to recommend here. Fans of atmosphere-driven ghost stories have much better options to choose from and die-hard Bava fanatics are advised to (re-)watch "Demons", "Macabre" or "Blade in the Dark".