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Don’t you just hate it when a ghost ruins all your plans and makes you fall for her indie-music singin’ ways AFTER she’s stolen your precious pizza?! I hate that the worst of all! And so does our main character in this week’s movie, A GHOST WAITS.

Thanks to Arrow:

This film is brought to us by ARROW –  a true indie SVOD service created and run by people that love cult films of all kinds. ARROW is building on our decades of experience in the Cult film and physical media worlds. They believe in film, from horror to action to westerns to the truly bizarre and use their experience as a distributor and our recent digital presence to deliver a very different SVOD service in ARROW.

Their approach to supporting each release on ARROW includes looking to supplement the feature films with hours of additional content that paints a fuller story of the filmmakers, genres and the movies themselves.  They commission stunning artwork from some of the best illustrators and artists from around the world and work as closely as they can with the filmmakers themselves in how their film is released.
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I want to put a trigger warning on this one for suicidal ideation/themes. So, if that’s not in your wheelhouse, I’d suggest skipping this, especially the end with “Brain Roll Juice”. Thanks and be well. – J.M.

The Plot: (spoiler-free)

Jack (MacLeod Andrews) is your typical half-neurotic, half-sweet-as-apple-pie handyman. He’s often neglected and shit on by others, including his own friends and his boss, but it’s really through no fault of his own. He likes his job and enjoys the simplicity of fixing the broken, maintaining houses, and rocking out to indie bands. He’s the kind of guy who talks to toilets while cleaning them, and making them talk back. 


He’s also the type of guy who is slow on the uptake when he begins to be haunted by a dark and mysterious ghost, Muriel (Natalie Walker). So, chairs rocking on their own, lights going out, and strange dreams don’t bother him much. But push comes to shove when this ghostly apparition STEALS HIS GODDAMN PIZZA!

Pictured: a broken, pizza-less man

He then starts losing his shit before realizing what’s happening and why so many previous tenants of the house have moved out (ghost on both accounts).

However, frustrated, he confronts the ghost, shocking her and piquing her curiosity in him. They start to form a bond and maybe even…love?

But ghosting is a serious business and if she can’t get him to leave the house, then her ghost license is revoked, or something, and she becomes a “shadow” (which is bad news).

But as just they begin to understand their feelings, the ghost agency sends another ghost to get the job done. Can their love survive? And if so, at what cost?

Thoughts: (spoiler-free)

This is one that hurt because there were a lot of right steps done for a low-budget horror-comedy, but there were also problematic areas that could have been avoided.


They lowered the effects and made it more down-to-earth, including makeup and the very slight gore. These are effects that I could probably do if given some YouTube videos and an afternoon, but that actually enhances the indie feel of this movie. 

Pictured: level of spookiness

Same with the black and white. It’s not really needed, but it adds to the flavor and the atmosphere, and reminds me of old indie horrors of the early 60’s. There are some fun shots, but for the most part, it’s pretty straight-forward. 

The music is filled to the brim with indie bands, which can get a bit tiring after a while because they blur together. But I enjoyed that they were mostly diegetic and a plot point. And I was also happy to see that they were actually used by the characters instead of just blaring in the background.

Okay, let’s get to the really good and the really…not-good. 

The really good were the shoulders of MacLeod Andrews because he f***ing carried this thing. His portrayal of Jack was actually sweet, endearing, and relatable. Honestly, it was weird seeing a character that I related so much with during the first act especially. Yes, I have talked to toilets. Yes, I have made them respond to me. We’re friends, get over it. But seriously, his acting was tremendous in this, as were his line reads because it could have gone completely the opposite and he could have sounded like a “nice guy” instead of an actual nice guy. So, I tip my hat, sir.

Pictured: Brannyk on any given day

And here comes the not-good, which I’ll talk more about in the next segment, too. The writing, mostly.

When we get to the second act, it begins to unravel. Once our two mains meet, it becomes a mess. We don’t get enough character from Muriel (not backstory, character) to make her memorable or his actions justifiable. The ghost bureaucracy just muddled and slowed the story down. When you add bureaucratic rules to supernatural, it usually gets tiresome unless really well done (i.e. Beetlejuice). It’s like playing a complex role-playing game – suddenly you’re arguing about THAC0 for an hour when you just wanna go kill orcs with your bikini-clad barbarian babe. 


If they wanted to add it, we (as the audience) should have learned about it before Jack, so it didn’t feel tagged on and it felt more a part of Muriel’s character. The stakes would have felt higher and we could have connected to her more as a character. 

Their flirting/meeting each other was, like, an hour or two at most. They are just sitting at the table and talking for half an afternoon. This equates as love in the movie. Do we need to revisit Frozen?

We never really understand why he even likes Muriel as more than a cool undead chick to sometimes hang with. The love doesn’t feel real or genuine. It feels really forced, in fact.

Pictured: Flirting, apparently

And also, just a BIG no for the line from Muriel, “What’s a movie?”

This is from a ghost who has claimed to understand people’s deepest fears from observing them and you’re telling me she’s never seen a couple people plop down and watch a freakin’ video on Tubi (please Tubi, respond to my voicemails, I love you, please notice my love!)? I call Bull Shenanigans. Hard B.S. 

Pictured: my face at this line

Brain Roll Juice: (spoilers ahead)

Okay, I’m not going to beat around the bush. This is a movie where a guy who has shitty friends feels lonely, meets a ghost for an afternoon, she pays attention to him so he thinks he’s in love, she likes him or whatever, but they can’t be together, SO HE COMMITS SUICIDE. 

Let that seep into every crack of your soul. I’ll wait…


Suicide is the answer to this love story.

She doesn’t say, “Hey, wait a minute. Like, you have your whole life…”

Nope, she’s all smiles and thumbs-up as he sits in his car, garage doors closed, waiting to die. He even calls his boss to thank him for everything and we see a scene of his boss finding his lifeless body.

In the next scene, we see the two of them haunting the house together because true love wins and they chose not to fear the reaper. 

Yeah, so…


Honestly, I am still not sure what to even say to this ending.

I keep seeing reviews calling A GHOST WAITS heart-warming and charming, and I’m just beside myself. I keep thinking I’m the only one who sees the damn gremlin on the wing of the plane and that gremlin is the alarming rise of suicides in the world. 

In the United States, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people per year. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54. Males are at a higher risk than females, just as rural areas are higher risk than urban

And if we still believe the theory of Durkheim’s extensive study on suicide (I know it was like forever and a day ago), Le Suicide, we can see a pattern that Jack fits into, which Durkheim called the Egoist Suicide. The Egoist suicide is usually enacted when one feels severely disconnected from their family, friends, community and society. Jack basically even says this at one point, that his life doesn’t matter because his friends don’t want him, his boss doesn’t respect him, and we never hear from his family. He is alone and lonely. He thinks he has no reason to live and one reason to die, so he chooses death. 

This is depressive, not happy. The ending glorifies his decision and is played off like it was the right decision. There is no hint of hesitation from him or Muriel.


This, surprisingly, goes back to Beetlejuice, when Lydia is planning on suicide to be with the people who care about her and they tell her that life is hard, but it’s hers to live. They will always love her and be there for her especially when she lives through those challenging times. It’s Barbara and Adam’s love that supports her and drives her to keep living, and not to pull her into the bureaucratic eternity of being a ghost.

Because otherwise the relationship would be selfish and toxic. 

Bottom Line:

You might enjoy this romp. There were moments that I truly did. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, it falls flat with its mission (a genuine romance) and it’s message (Jack completing suicide = love beats all). 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)


When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

Movies n TV

If You Don’t Woe Me by Now



This is the second to last episode of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And it’s kind of exactly what I expected it to be. But is that a bad thing? Let’s find out.

(Missed my last review? Click here to read it now.)

We begin at the funeral of the unfortunate Mayor Noble. While Wednesday seems to have been an invited guest, someone else in attendance isn’t. 

Uncle Fester, played by Fred Armisen. 

Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester in Wednesday.

His visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Wednesday, as almost all of her friends aren’t talking to her. When Thing is brutally attacked, it’s even better luck that Uncle Fester is around. 

This attack on Thing spurs Wednesday to speed up her search. With her uncle’s help, she breaks into the Nightshade library and finds that the monster attacking people is called a Hyde. A creature that can only be called upon by someone else. 

This means that instead of one killer, we are looking for two. And Wednesday is pretty sure she knows who the killers are. 

But of course, she’s still an idiot teenager, so she goes right ahead and confronts one of them, Dr. Kinbott, by herself. This has results that surprise no one. 

After this, Wednesday learns her lesson and gets Sheriff Galpin involved to catch her suspected monster. Their relationship seems to be getting better after he caught her and Tyler in the Crackstone tomb watching Legally Blond and didn’t rebuke them. Maybe he’s softened on the idea of Wednesday dating his son. 

Or maybe he wanted to use her to get around needing a search warrant for Xander’s art studio. Because why follow the law when you can risk the life of a teenager by sending her in to start grabbing up evidence in a flagrant disregard for the safety and rights of two kids? 


Because that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, poor Xavier has gone through so much trying to be friends with Wednesday. 

When you’re a fan of a certain genre, you’ll find yourself recognizing the beats of a story before they even happen. For instance, a murder mystery will often have a moment, right near the climax of the story, where it seems like the case is solved. 

Gwendoline Christie and Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

This was that episode. It appears like the case is solved, but it’s all a little too easy. And too early in the episode. Now, I don’t consider this a bad thing. It’s an expectation of the genre. Especially because this is a show for a young audience who might never have seen this before. And in this case, just because I saw it coming didn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying. 

This one was satisfying because of the implications. The real monster is revealed now. And if you’ve figured out who it is, you understand how difficult a job Wednesday is going to have to prove it. 

One thing I like about Wednesday is that there is no dishonesty in this child. If she thinks something, it comes right out. So of course she had no problem confronting her therapist as soon as she started putting the pieces together. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that she expects other people to behave like her. To be honest, at least some of the time. To attack from behind, and attack people other than herself to get her point across. Because, sadly, good people tend to judge others in the ways they would behave. 

I loved the addition of Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester. And I wasn’t expecting him to do a good job, honestly. I’m quite used to Christopher Lloyd as Fester, so this was kind of shocking. But as always, he was great. He brought a sense of levity and joyous foolishness that this character should always have.


All in all, this was a great episode. My biggest criticism is that the twist ending isn’t as unpredictable as one might like. When you’ve been a selfish prick to everyone around you, and all of your friends are done with your shit, but one person is still fine with it, that person might just have some ulterior motives. 

There’s just one episode left, and I’m excited to see how the story wraps up. I have high hopes for it. And I’m just thankful that the season has exceeded the rather dismal expectations I had for it at the beginning. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

The Beach House, a Film Review

The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.



The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.

Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.

A woman with her mouth agape. Behind her is a dark background. Next to her reads, "The Beach House." Below is a scenic beach with a mountain in the distance.
The Beach House Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.

Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.

Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.


In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.

Woman looks shocked or horrified. Bushes or trees make up the background.
Liana Liberato as Emily

What I Dislike or Considerations

A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.

It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.

One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.

There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.

Final Thoughts

The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.


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Movies n TV

Every Secret Thing, a Film Review

Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.



Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.

When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.

Laura Lippman stands out at the top of the cover, over a black background. Every Secret Thing appearing over a pool
Every Secret Thing Book Cover

What I Like

The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.

Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.

The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.


Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.

Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.

Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.

Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.

Daughter resting on her mother's shoulder. Both are in the back of a car.
Diane Lane as Helen and Danielle Macdonald as Alice

What I Dislike

Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.

A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.


As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.

Final Thoughts

Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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