Hello again, ghosts and ghouls!
A trailer was released for a new Nicolas Cage film titled “Pay the Ghost” some time ago. There was essentially no publicity after that, and as far as I can tell, there was never any advertising for the film aside from online (when you accidentally stumbled across the trailer). However, while browsing Netflix, I was graced with its presence, and I thought to myself “well, it’s a Saturday night, I have a bottle of Kraken ready to go, and I need a bad movie to watch.” That’s how I ended up watching this movie, and I decided that I can’t let myself judge horror films (or Nicolas Cage movies) like that anymore.
Nicolas Cage and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead, you all know her as Laurie) are a couple living in New York City with their son Charlie around Halloween-time. Mike (Cage) is a professor at a university trying to get tenured to provide for his family, Kristen (Callies) is her normal nasty self while he tries to help out where he can, and Charlie is the worst actor on the entire planet.When Mike feels guilty that he couldn’t take Charlie trick-or-treating, he takes him to a Halloween fair, where Charlie disappears after saying “dad, can we pay the ghost?”. Mike makes it his mission one year later to figure out what happened to his son, and as he and Kristen try to communicate with Charlie, they realize they’ve stumbled upon some really strange, supernatural stuff.
I started watching this film assuming it was going to be awful, because I am by no means a Nic Cage fan. In fact, I really can’t stand him. However, after seeing the trailer, I was intrigued by the story and I wanted a good laugh, so I threw it on.
To be honest, I found myself on-edge through a lot of the film- there are a couple of jump scares, but they’re actually very well timed and they’re not unnecessary to make the film scary.
A lot of the film revolves around Samhain, the Celtic celebration of Halloween, so for Trick ‘r Treat fans, there’s a fun little reference in there, and I think that maybe this film got a little bit of its inspiration from good ol’ Michael Dougherty.
Without giving too much away, I can say honestly and truly that some parts of this film are great and creepy and strange, and some parts are awful and unnecessary and stupid.
What I believe to actually be the worst part of the entire film is the son, Charlie, who’s acting is absolutely unbearable. As soon as he disappeared, the film got better, right up until the end…where the story totally fell apart, stopped making sense, and never tied up any loose ends.
Now that I’ve confused you with my incredibly mixed review, let me get on to rating it for you all!
Seems like the right rating to me (though if I could just rate it with no system, it’d probably get a 6 in my mind)…had a lot of potential, a decent cast, a cool story, and terrible execution. I hope that someday, someone takes this story on again and somehow remakes it in a way that makes more sense, because for a 1.5 hour movie, only 45 minutes were truly necessary and coherent. I will tell you right now, if you have the same taste in horror as me, you’ll be totally invested in the story up until the last half hour, in which you’ll be scratching your head going “…wait…what? Why did…what? What the hell?” and not really in a good way.
It’s a fun little watch, so if you’re looking for something short, then this is definitely a film to look into. Nic Cage proved me wrong…but just this once.
Until next time, stay spooky!