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Pay the Ghost (2015)

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A professor frantically searches for his son who was abducted during a Halloween carnival.


Uli Edel


Tim Lebbon (novel), Dan Kay (screenplay)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Mike Lawford
Sarah Wayne Callies ... Kristen
Veronica Ferres ... Hannah
Lyriq Bent ... Jordan
Lauren Beatty Lauren Beatty ... Annie Sawquin
Kalie Hunter Kalie Hunter ... Ghost Annie
Jack Fulton ... Charlie
Stephen McHattie ... Blind Man
Susannah Hoffmann Susannah Hoffmann ... Jane
Juan Carlos Velis ... Morales
Mark Irvingsen ... Angry Villager #1
Liam Buckle Liam Buckle ... Eldest Child
Sofia Wells ... Middle Child
Aidan Wojtak-Hissong Aidan Wojtak-Hissong ... Youngest Child
Caroline Gillis Caroline Gillis ... Priestess


One year after Mike Lawford's young son disappeared during a Halloween carnival, he is haunted by ghostly images and terrifying messages he can't explain. Together with his estranged wife, he will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery and find their son-and, in doing so, he unearths the legend of the crying woman who refuses to remain buried in the past.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Evil walks among us. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

25 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A sötétség kapui See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


First announced in 2010 with Dennis Iliadis as the director. See more »


The bus route is M34. In NYC, the M34 bus is an articulated bus line, and is now the SBS 34 bus. The M34 does not use regular buses on that route. (from a NYC Bus Operator who has done the M34) See more »


Charlie: Daddy, can we pay the ghost?
Mike Lawford: Pay the what?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In a mid-credits scene Hannah's corpse is being picked at by ravens. A close up shot of her face ends with her eyelids opening up to reveal black eyes. See more »


Once it Was Mine
Performed by Judy Lunn
Written by Norma and Connie Conway
Courtesy of Fervor Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Cage continues to pay the ghost... of past debts!
22 August 2016 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Nicolas Cage does so many movies that it's the greatest shame is when he does a movie like this. And it's not that it's an entirely *awful* project to work on - it's a horror movie that doesn't rely on the requisite jump scares that so many mainstream movies that get released in theaters tend to have and has an inkling of a decent premise about a kid who gets taken on Halloween night and a year later it's discovered that it's part of a string of kids who are taken on the night - and yet it's also that it's not very good either. It doesn't give the opportunity for Cage to do something legitimately good (which he IS still capable of, see Green's JOE from 2014 for proof of that) nor is it a place for him to go full bat-s***-cage like Port of Call New Orleans. It's a watchable lump.

It's from director Uli Edel so if you've seen Body of Evidence (where Madonna has sex with people to death and there's a court case about it), and the Baader Meinhoff Complex (which is actually a pretty good accounting of the terrorist group in the 70's), so he isn't exactly a hack... sort of. He's out to basically tell the story that he's been given. The trouble is there isn't a whole of story to give out, except that there are some requisite clichés, such as when the married couple of Cage and Sarah Wayne Callies call upon someone who can talk to 'spirits' or whatnot (Poltergeist and Insidious called...), or the simple fact that Cage is playing a literature professor who on cue is teaching Goethe to his students who give him rapturous applause at the end of his first lecture (and then later when he's all sad that his son is gone and teaching Irving there's just a collective shrug, it's almost like there is no class there). It's full of clichéd elements.

I think it's simply a combination of Pay the Ghost being full of stuff from other movies like the cult in robes (I liked it better in Wicker Man, a Nic Cage bat-s*** movie I'd rather be watching) or that it's execution is just lazy (the CGI vultures that hover over buildings from time to time, but then when it has to be story-driven there's some shadowy figure in a window). The simpler fact is that it's not very scary, and the director seems to be trying to make it scarier through bursts of music and dark lighting that is unconvincing. And yet through all of this, a little of Cage kind of sort of trying is there... in parts. And the actress playing his wife from Walking Dead is okay (though she often has a look in her eyes of panic, which may be for the character but may be uh 'Hey, can someone get me out of here?'). But the general feeling by the end of this is 'ho-hum', and one can only hope Cage is done paying off his tax debts so he can do more things like Joe again.

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