FEARNET Movie Review: 'Ghost Team One'


ghost team oneAs a veteran viewer, frequent reviewer, and legitimate fan of the "found footage" horror film style of storytelling, I know all the tricks. From [REC] and its sequels/remakes to the original cut of Paranormal Activity, stretching all the way back to a (still sincere) affection for The Blair Witch Project -- not to mention dozens of micro-budget indie flicks that are forgettable at best and sometimes unwatchable -- I legitimately enjoy the shaky-cam "first-person" found footage horror movie. And while it's certainly true that the DIY nature of this format lends itself rather well to lazy and uninspired filmmakers, it also gives some clever people a relatively easy way of telling a scary story.

And then there are crazy-ass sex comedies like Ghost Team One, which is both a satire of the now painfully familiar conventions of the found footage style and a full-bore, foul-mouthed farce in its own right. One needn't be an expert on the medium to appreciate the humor of Ghost Team One, but horror geeks who've seen all the films mentioned above (or suffer through rotten parodies like A Haunted House) should find a lot to enjoy here.
Sergio (Carlos Santos) and Brad (J.R. Villarreal) are horny young nerds who decide to become ghost-hunting documentarians after a ghost (and a very beautiful woman) make their presence felt during a raucous house party. That'd be more than enough plot for a standard indie horror movie, and it certainly seems to suffice where this indie horror-flavored comedy is concerned. 
It's a simple enough premise for Santos and Villarreal (two very funny guys, both individually and as a unit) to riff on a lot of the ideas we've seen in straight-faced thrillers. Fortunately they're also assisted by two very funny women (Fernanda Romero and Meghan Falcone), a colorfully unpredictable roommate (Tony Cavalero), and enough off-color sex jokes to make Kevin Smith blush.
Aside from just letting some young actors deliver some strong improv work, Ghost Team One dips its toe into a plot involving the spirit of a horny Vietnamese spirit who causes paranormal problems whenever something sexy is afoot. For the first hour of Ghost Team One, mostly everything works. The young actors know their comedy and play to their strengths, some of the funniest "gags" are provided through quick punch lines and quicker editing, and there's an admirable intent to create a comedic story within a horror concept -- not just a checklist of horror tropes and a limp attempt at parody, over and over.
For all its amiable childishness and amusing vulgarity, the final third of Ghost Team One, unfortunately, becomes a bit mired in the (generally uninteresting) plot machinations and tries to top its puerile wit with a bizarre barrage of ugly Asian stereotypes -- but aside from the assertion that Ghost Team One loses focus during the finale and never really "sticks its landing," this is still a consistently clever, enthusiastically profane, and unexpectedly funny little horror spoof. This movie sometimes feels like it's little more than a collection of internet videos that were cobbled together to reach feature length, but if the performers, the material, and the presentation are this funny, who cares, really?