The Ghosts Of Edendale

The Ghosts Of Edendale (2004)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Stephen Wastell, Paula Ficara, Andrew Quintero, Louis Pepe
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Trailer, Deleted Scenes

Stefan Avalos, one of the two minds behind the sensational indie-movie ’The Last Broadcast,’ is back with a new horror film. Once again shot as a low budget film on digital cameras, Avalos is drawing somewhat from his own experience in this film, telling a ghost story set in the middle of Hollywood. A young couple moves from the east coast to Los Angeles to fulfill their dreams, become screenwrights for Hollywood. They buy a small house in Edendale and begin settling in when suddenly Rachel begins seeing strange apparitions. The manifestations seem to be all over the place and eventually Rachel has the feeling that even her husband Kevin is changing. Or is it all just in her mind?

Warner Home Video is releasing ’The Ghosts Of Edendale’ on DVD and the overall DVD quality is very good. However, being shot on digital home video, the cinematography of the film leaves somewhat to be desired, constantly oozing a camcorder look and feel. The color balance is off many times, creating the typical video-look where everything is reproduced absolutely sterile and without atmosphere. In other shots, the camera has trouble getting enough light and the result is an image that is hopelessly blurry with immense multicolor halos around the edges. Add to that the constant slow fades, which seem to stem from the in-camera fader, and sadly the film does not come across as very professional.

The audio suffers from the same drawbacks, sadly. Dialogues are oftentimes muffled are washed out by the room’s ambience and clear at others. The frequency response always feels limited for the dialogues, creating a very unnatural-sounding presentation that some ADR or post-processing could have fixed. The music on the other hand is very good with a John Carpenter-inspired piano main theme that makes fro great suspense.

The release contains a commentary track by Stefan Avalos and producer Marianne Connor as well as a selection of behind-the scenes featurettes. Deleted scenes with commentary and the movie’s trailer are also included.

’The Ghosts Of Edendale’ came highly lauded and it does have its moments, but overall I found the film a bit too low budget for its own good. Better cinematography and some tighter editing would have helped the film. While the acting is generally good, it too can never shake the home video feeling and while suspenseful and stinging at times, ’The Ghosts Of Edendale’ sadly doesn’t live up to its full potential, though for die-hard indie horror fans, it is definitely something worth checking out