Hey gang, Valkor here. Nicolas Cage is an actor whom you either really enjoy his works and his onscreen antics, or you’ll totally dismiss him and wish whatever works of his you’ve hated never existed – really there is no middle ground with this guy as far as I can tell. While I’m not the biggest Nic Cage fan, given the opportunity to check out his latest film – Pay the Ghost, I wasn’t about to pass on the opportunity to catch some onscreen wackiness… or if anything, I'd at least get a good nap out of it. Thankfully neither happened, but that doesn’t mean he’s off the hook. Spoilers ahead!
In “Pay the Ghost”, Nic cage plays professor/husband/father Mike, who’s having a pretty good run; he just made tenure at the university he teaches and his home life is pretty solid. Sure his son Charlie (Jack Fulton) sees monsters in his window at night, but what kid doesn’t see such things? On Halloween night and having missed most of the event, Mike takes Charlie out on a little post-trick or treat excursion to the local carnival. And as he’s getting the little one some ice cream, Charlie suddenly disappears, but before vanishing he says these final words “pay the ghost”.
Fast-forward to almost a year later, Mike and wife Kristen (Sarah Wayne Cailles) are still reeling after the disappearance of their son that has caused something of a rift between them. However Mike begins to see flashes of Charlie and begins to piece together clues, based on his last words, in hopes of ultimately finding his son. All roads leads back to the past, in 1679 where a frightening incident occurred that resonates into the present. And with his window of opportunity to save Charlie rapidly closing, will Mike be able to save his son in time… or die trying?
I’m not quite sure of the title “Pay the Ghost”; I mean it’s not like the characters actually sacrifice anything to “pay” the ghost in this film. It’s more like the ghost just takes what it wants, no matter what. But I guess that’s neither here nor there, so let’s move on to the TOV Breakdown.
There’s a lot to like about the film "Pay the Ghost” that warrants checking out; the story is pretty easy to follow and it flows well, though the pacing can be a bit off, yet it’s nothing too extreme. Plus you get some nice bits of real history that adds a little something extra, making it that much more interesting to watch. And as far as the horror stuff goes, you get a nice creepy vibe with a decent level of suspense throughout, a few jump scares and the weird medium lady that comes in to make light of things (though her "exit" is too quick and kinda funny). There’s a little bit of gore, but nothing to extreme. And let’s not forget the ghost itself that’s all sorts of scary; the appearance is subtle at first, but it builds up to a nice, full-on appearance later on. The acting all-around is OK, and if you’re a fan of Nic Cage you probably won’t be disappointed… probably. I mean if you go into this thinking he’s going to do something insane, then just walk away. Or sit, stay and enjoy a pretty decent horror anyway. Pay the Ghost... yea, it's worth it!
I’m not all that fond of the ending, which feels a little too over the top and rushed. It works, but it leaves you wanting more. And it's open for a sequel, so there’s that. I'd be OK with a sequel actually.
What happens to Mike’s colleague, who gets pushed out of the building onto some spikes and no one has found the body. The film ends with her dead body and her eyes opening all of a sudden, but all I can think about is “that body was there the whole time and no one found it?”.
Pay the Ghost gets a limited theatrical release on September 25th 2015, but you can also find it on Video on Demand like Amazon. And if you’re looking for a pretty decent horror with a few scares and a solid story, then definitely give this one a try. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Pay the Ghost a 3.5.