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Ghouls (2008)

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A college student returns with her father to his home country only to discover her family holds a dark secret that involves her.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Stefan
...
Liz
...
...
Jennifer
Dan Badarau ...
Vlad
Corneliu Cimpoaie ...
Mihai
Marian Iacob ...
Alexa
Roxana Iancu ...
Adriana
Lucia Maier ...
Draga
George Grigore ...
Radu
Dumitru Stancu Petre ...
Tosha
Ion Haiduc ...
Bogdan
...
Dylan
Silvia Popa ...
Grandmother / Ghoul Queen
Ioana Abur ...
Jennifer's Mother
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Storyline

Stefan invites his daughter, Jennifer, to travel to Romania for the funeral of his mother. His mystic girlfriend Liz travels with them to the cursed village of Pelosoara, where they are welcomed by Stefan's brother Vladimir, and Jennifer finds the locals are very peculiar people. Jennifer learns that she is the only woman from the bloodline of her father. At the funeral a stranger approaches and asks Jennifer to meet him in the square in one hour. When Jennifer arrives at the meeting place, she sees a creature devouring the man she was there to meet and is saved by Thomas. The man tells her that he is the last druid on Earth, protecting the world against the evil ancients. They were defeated by the druids in the past and banished to the spiritual world. That night, there was to be a reclamation ceremony where the evil queen possesses a vessel to open a vortex between the spiritual and the real world to bring the ancients back to Earth. But Jennifer is to find out that things are more ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Dead Are Waiting

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence and gore | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 July 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Almas Perversas  »

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Goofs

When Jennifer is walking through the town, the sound of heels clicking on the street is heard. However, when her feet are shown, she is wearing tennis shoes. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ghoulishly unentertaining
28 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

Gary Jones' directorial debut, 1995's MOSQUITO, is a perfect example of an entertaining, purposely cheesy genre film. You want wacky? It features the titular insects dining on alien corpses, growing to obscene sizes and then attacking a humdrum forest community. Much blood is splattered, Gunnar Hansen robs a bank and now, DVD copies run over 100 bucks on eBay. Now, lucky 13 years later, Jones (who also directed The Asylum's enjoyably inane JOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER'S COVE) has teamed up with no less than three scriptwriters for his first foray into the realm of Sci Fi Channel cinema. One could only assume that given his talent for goofy horror, GHOULS would end up a fun supernatural romp.

But we all know what happens when we assume, and GHOULS sadly makes an ass out of you, me and anyone else foolish enough to watch this terrible mess.

When college cutie Jen (Kristen Renton) finds out that her estranged Romanian grandmother recently passed away, it's the perfect excuse for her and her father (GHOSTBUSTERS' William Atherton) to visit the old country. What she doesn't know is that a cult of "Ancients" have actually sacrificed her granny to a foursome of poorly animated CGI ghouls, using the power of jazz hands. Soon, oblivious little Jen is meeting her sleazy uncle Vlad (Dan Bararau), second-guessing her dad's seemingly sweet girlfriend (Erin Grey) and catching the eye of the local Druid ghoul hunter (CABIN FEVER's James DeBello). Yes, in a groan-inducing twist, her uncle is indeed named Vlad, and her new boy-toy uses grenades and shotguns to fight ghosts.

The creatures, which defy all dictionary definitions of actual ghouls, are a mixture of atrocious digital work and actors traipsing around in bargain-bin Halloween costumes. A number of gratuitous close-ups, in which they shamelessly mug for the camera, showcase solid special makeup work, but it's simply not enough to save the film. Even the gore, which doesn't really get gushing until the one-hour mark, is cut together so quickly that we never really feel like we're seeing anything too nasty. Aside from some gut-munching, silly blood sprays and a few gouges, we're not catching much.

As Jen wanders around the emptiest town in all of Eastern Europe, one gets the impression that there is something other than its citizens that's amiss. Side plots abound, although none of them seem to really pay off. Our heroine almost discovers a creepy crate hidden under her bed, but never opens it. Dad's girlfriend loves giving tarot-card readings (improperly), but never actually uses them for anything. Even the early loss of monster hunter Thomas' father offers nothing but an extremely drawn-out filler sequence in which the two prove how bad they truly are at ghoulbusting.

A few minor twists precede GHOULS' final act, but they unfortunately fail to take the film in a new direction—and certainly don't hit their intended marks. Atherton, who sadly looks quite haggard, is sorely underused and doesn't offer us a memorable character, instead stirring up memories of far better roles he's taken (DIE HARD, anyone?). The same can unfortunately not be said for DeBello's Thomas, who is so lacking in personality that it took nearly 40 minutes of screen time for this reviewer to even notice he was playing the role. Only the women, both with significant TV credits under their belts, shine through this mess. Regrettably, neither Renton and Grey (of DAYS OF OUR LIVES and SILVER SPOONS, respectively) can rise above the quality of the production, with even the talented young lead falling victim to the absolute hilarity of the film's outrageous finale. The Sci Fi Channel's 2008 roster has been across the board, offering up the dreadful-but-fun HEATSTROKE, the surprisingly decent COPPERHEAD and the only moderately entertaining duo of ROCK MONSTER and AZTEC REX. GHOULS, however, has set new standards in how poor its films can get. Unless you've got friends who truly love tepid horror and an extra case of beer lying around, GHOULS is, sadly, a must-miss. Better luck next time, Sci Fi. You know I'll be back for more.


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