A group of amateur ghost hunters armed with cameras and other equipment pose as documentary producers for the Discovery Channel. They head for the isolated town of Goldfield, where an abandoned haunted hotel is rumored to be one of the 7 portals to “the other side”. Their car breaks down just outside of town near an old cemetery in the middle of the night. A local bartender appears to be the caretaker for the old hotel and the town’s historian. He gets the exposition that sets up the story for the kids. He hands out the keys to the hotel, but warns them not to go into room 109. Of course, I don’t have to tell you where they go.
The film shows the past events in sepia tone flashback sequences. A woman was brutally tortured and killed in the hotel many years ago. One of the kids has a connection. Her grandmother was involved in the tragic events. Mostly, the kids stumble around drinking, having sex, and pinching a few of the hotel’s antiques. Until the ghost decides to join the party.
The film reeks of its low budget status. I think that the kids in the film weren’t the only ones pretending to be producers. I think there must have been a lot of pretending here, from the dialog, to the direction, to the acting. There’s nothing new here, and its relatively short running time appears to go on forever. They didn’t even try to create authentic atmosphere. The supposedly ancient hotel that’s been abandoned for decades apparently sports modern “eye in the sky” camera domes, contemporary electronic cash registers, and televisions. The writers didn’t even bother to check their dialog as the hotel is set near I95 between Chicago and San Francisco. I95 doesn’t go within 500 miles of either city. It’s a north/south interstate on the east coast.
Ghosts Of Goldfield is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The image is almost always as if we’re watching through a dirty glass window. There’s almost no detail, and black levels are horrible. The bit rate is low, but there’s nothing else on the disc. I have no idea what gives here. Colors are something out of a fourth generation VHS dub.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio sounds like it came from a camcorder. You can hear the dialog, that’s about all.
If you’re going to try and create your first film with limited money and even more limited talent, you might at least try for something original. Give us something interesting to deal with, and we’ll overlook the many shortcomings. This is a story told a thousand times before, and nearly every time superior to what we have here. If you’re thinking of trying your hand at this movie making thing, remember the golden rule, “sometimes shortcuts don’t work”.