Urban Ghost Story

Dir: Genevieve Jolliffe
Starring: Heather Ann Foster, Stephanie Buttle, Jason Connery

Scotland has been underused as a location for horror movies; the only one that comes to mind is The Wicker Man. This attempts to redress the balance, Foster playing a teenager living in a Glasgow tower-block (some might say that was a scary enough premise in itself), who "dies" for three minutes in a car-accident, and now finds herself plagued by things that go bump in the night. The first half is very nicely realised, with her mother (Buttle) calling in sleazy tabloid journalist Connery, who has his own agenda, and there are some pointed digs at the press, spiritualists and the whole paranormal industry. Having set its dominoes up prettily, the film fails to knock them down, despite convincing performances from the leads. The script diverts its energies into ineffective subplots involving a loan shark, social services and a junkie sister, while there are, if anything, too many attempted explanations, none of which are even moderately convincing. More could, and should, have been made of the impact on the heroine's life, and the overall feeling is one of unfulfilled promise. [Opens theatrically in Britain, July 13th, 2001]


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