Ghost Month is the type of movie where throwing a piece of paper off screen results in glass breaking. How that balled up wad of paper could break anything glass, whether by knocking an item over or hitting a window is anyone’s guess. Of course, this is also the type of movie where cell phones loudly play voice mail messages currently recording despite being closed and the call never being answered. So much for privacy.
Ghost Month is based on a Chinese belief that ghosts come back for one month out of the year, and offerings are performed to make their journey back easier. The movie apparently wants to be a take on the recent Asian horror craze, so it uses some Asian people… which sort of misses the point. Production values are in the gutter, and stilted, unnatural explanatory dialogue doesn’t help matters.
Anyway, Alyssa (Marina Resa) accepts a house keeping job in the middle of nowhere, stupidly ditching her cell phone on the side of the road during the drive there. The house belongs to two Asian women who initially seem like nice people, if stuffy in their beliefs.
Multiple subplots are intertwined, including a crazy ex-boyfriend and creepy neighbor, both of which exist for no reason other then to push the running time to feature length. It’s bad enough the film has to deal with murderous ghosts, but murderous ex-boyfriends too?
In-between various cheaply done ghost attacks, Alyssa begins to discover things in the house, breaking rules set forth by Miss Wu (Shirley To) in the process. Mysterious dresses, pictures of a house keeper, and other suspicious items that could eventually lead to convicting Wu and her Aunt Chen (Akiko Shima) of serious crimes.
The question then is why wouldn’t the Chinese women fire Alyssa the moment she becomes suspicious? She has broken rules, they have a reason to let her go without raising suspicion, and the potential of their nonsensical crime being discovered is high. These people are idiots.
No wonder ghosts keep trying to kill them. Even the spirits know they’re too stupid to live.
Ghost Month comes to Blu-ray from North American Motion Pictures with a MPEG-2 transfer that is sorely lacking. Banding is a consistent problem, along with extensive video noise. Color is flat, and sharpness non-existent. Part of that could be the camera going out of focus on a regular basis.
Detail or texture is rarely found. Aliasing is noticeable multiple times, and an embarrassingly awful sunset is beyond pixelated before the closing moments of the movie. Black levels are inconsistent, although usually strong.
Audio is presented in a flat, poorly recorded 2.0 PCM mix. Dialogue being hard to hear is not a fault of the disc, but the source. A speech around the 80-minute mark is nearly inaudible. The constant musical backdrop is not only annoying, but mildly strained as it comes through the speakers. Some minor positional dialogue and stereo effects are noted.
Ghost Month’s menu doesn’t even need to exist. The only option is “Play Movie,” which begs the question as to why the movie simply doesn’t auto play. Note there are no subtitles, pop-up menu, or any other standard features.