When you’re the son of an iconic director, it can’t be helped that viewers will tend to expect a little more out of you. Case in point with Sean Stone (son of Oliver Stone); expectations were in place, especially since dad actually plays a role in the film. With Greystone Park , it would be safe to assume Stone was looking to remove himself far from his father’s shadow and show he has a vision all his own. The problem is we get a film that is a bit hit-or-miss throughout.
In 2009 three filmmakers decide to go check out an old abandoned psychiatric hospital and do some filming. The decision to check this place out is during conversation at a dinner party and the topic of ghosts and the paranormal is brought up. Stories are passed around, but the key topic everyone seemed to be interested in revolved around Greystone.
Everything in the start of the film is very well done and does seem very natural for a found-footage movie. That being said, this is one of the best-looking found-footage films I’ve seen. The camera work for the film is your standard found footage, no tripod ever used; still we get some nice shots throughout, but I suspect a lot of this is to the camera’s credit.
The three we get to follow through this haunted-house-like set up are Sean Stone, Alex Wraith, and Antonella Lentini; all whom seem to just be playing themselves. As the three investigate the institution, they rotate who does the heavy lifting with the camera work so everyone gets their due screen time. As for the institution, this place is creepy as hell. This is the place I want to see Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters do a show at; every room is almost a character all on its own, and it’s this aspect that helped build real tension in the film.
Through their adventure through the institution they encounter everything from “shadow people” to possibly escaped patients. There is a lot to like here, and it does a better than expected job at being creepy, but where the film takes a drastic misstep is in the editing. Though this may appear to be a found-footage film, it breaks a giant rule in found footage and is edited in a non-linear fashion and filled with too many cutaways that are giving glimpses at their impending doom. And if I’m not mistaken, I caught a few music cues, which is also a not supposed to be there in a found-footage film. If the argument is that this is a faux documentary, then why does the film end the way it does?
Overall this is a fun little movie; it’s good for this time of year when all is quiet late at night and you’re looking for a simple scare. If you’re looking for something with a little more substance but just as much atmosphere, you’re better off checking out The Shining.