Ghost Light

As someone who works at her day job with someone with a theatre background I can tell you that the supposed curse associated with Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth is an actual thing. Now, you should not be all that surprised as theatre folk are notoriously superstitious…and occasionally high strung. What else would you expect from people who say “break a leg” as a good luck wish to someone about to take the stage?

A small-time traveling Shakespeare troupe is preparing to put on a production of Macbeth in a rural location. They are in the mountains of western Massachusetts and from the outside the barn/theatre they are peforming in does not look like much, but once they are inside they are delighted to a man and woman at the quaint and authentic old style theatre inside.

Before their run begins there is a little time for rehearsal, so director Henry (Roger Bart – from television’s Desperate Housewives) puts his actors through their paces. Right from the beginning you see the tension within the troupe. Thomas (Tom Riley – appeared in episodes of Dr. Who and Agatha Christie’s Poirot), the understudy of lead actor Alex (Cary Elwes – The Princess Bride, Saw), is frustrated by the fact that he believes himself to be a better actor than Alex. He is also sleeping with Alex’s wife Liz Beth (Shannyn Sossamon – A Knight’s Tale, The Rules of Attraction), who is Lady Macbeth. A tangled web has been woven.

In a moment of utter frustration Thomas dares to utter the name of the play while on stage. Only Liz Beth hears him. Soon after a young hiker named Juliet (Danielle Campbell – from television’s The Originals) wanders into the theatre and charms everyone. So much so that she is given the role of the third witch in the play.

That night is a dark and stormy one (aren’t they always?) and the curse begins to rear its ugly head. Everyone begins to see or experience strange things. Like seeing blood on their hands or things that are not really there. They are all spooked. The curse of Macbeth seems to have struck again.

Loads of stuff is packed into this short, but enjoyable film directed and co-written by John Stimpson (A Deadly Obsession), who has lots of previous experience directing horror films. This is certainly not your typical horror flick. Though it has some supernatural stuff going on there are plenty of quirky laughs to be found as well. Both of these aspects are done well resulting in a rather pleasant watch.

I have to say I was surprised as I did not expect much from Ghost Light. Though I should have been more prepared as the ensemble cast involved Cary Ewles and the legendary Carol Kane, in their first film together since the cult favourite, The Princess Bride.

With Ewles and Kane there you know the moments of absurdity are going to abound. But there is also a cleverness involved. Many of the themes of the play itself are replicated in the members of the troupe, such as ambition and controling others through sex. There is also some creepy moments which involve supernatural elements, but it is not outright horror. Solid premise which carries off the twist at the end.

The film is available for streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vimeo.

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