Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
4 Oct 2015
8:00 am

Pay the Ghost review (trailer)

Leon van Nierop

Without intending to sound facetious, Nicolas Cage's name under a movie title nowadays carries a penalty with it: see it at your own peril or ask for your money back.

EERIE. Sarah Wayne Callies as Kristen and Nicolas Cage as Mike Lawford in Pay the Ghost.

This respectable actor, who gave such magnificent performances in Leaving Las Vegas, Peggy Sue Got Married, Wild at Heart and Birdy now seems to be a shadow of his former self. He has an expression of permanent forlornness on his face, almost as if he is lamenting the way his career deteriorated during the last few years. Left Behind or Season of the Witch? Didn’t think you would remember. Why does he choose these awful films?

In his latest disappointing outing he plays the part of a concerned dad who loses his young son (played by Jack Fulton) who gets lost during a Halloween Parade in New York. Just before his disappearance, and after many movie shorthand-gimmicks (an eerie opening sequence taking place hundreds of years ago, a sinister looking ice cream man, a hideous bird perching on the edge of buildings, his fear of a face at the window) he disappears. So when he utters the title of the movie: “Pay back the ghost” to his dad, one realises something evil is going to befall the poor kid.

The rest of the film, which jumps ahead to one year later, dedicates itself to Cage repaying his “debt” to the ghost.

It’s a pity that Uli Edel, responsible for two great films of yesteryear, Christiane F and Last Exit to Brooklyn decided to direct this script, based on a novel. With his illustrious history he should have recognised a bad script and a damp squib in the making.

Poor Cage has nothing else to do than look sad or terrified – with many dark shots of New York and his nightmare house in between – while the story treads along the same tired old path as countless horror imitations before it. The scariest thing about this film is the Halloween costumes. You lose interest when real humans appear in real clothes before the ghosts take over.

Disappointing and inadequate. You have better things to do with your money and time.