By Don Simpson | February 1, 2013
Directors: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford
Writers: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford, Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli
Starring: Carlos Santos, J.R. Villarreal, Fernanda Romero, Tony Cavalero, Meghan Falcone, James Babson, Craig Stott, Scott MacArthur
Ghost Team One begins during a wild party at Brad (J.R. Villarreal) and Sergio’s (Carlos Santos) house. Brad gets incredibly drunk, he stumbles upstairs and gets really freaked out when he thinks that he sees a ghost. When a sexy young woman — Fernanda (Fernanda Romero) — expresses an interest in ghosts, Sergio and Brad decide to make a documentary about their haunted house. Sergio and Brad install a bunch of cameras around their house and hire a [never-revealed] videographer named Billy. It all begins as an elaborate ruse to see which one of them can get into Fernanda’s pants, but eventually Sergio and Brad’s hormones are neutralized by pure, unbridled fear.
Directed by Ben Peyser and Scott Rutherford, Ghost Team One is a very silly spoof of first person haunted house films; but I’m not quite sure if it is a good or bad thing that this film never takes itself seriously. Really, I guess it depends on your expectations — there are certainly plenty of laughs, but absolutely no scares to be found. That said, Peyser and Rutherford do achieve a fairly high level of realism from their actors, despite the ridiculous situations; Carlos Santos, J.R. Villarreal and Fernanda Romero all give admirable performances — as does Tony Cavalero, who plays Chuck, the perpetually angry third housemate.
It might be easy to criticize the heavy-handed plot devices that Peyser and Rutherford utilize to shoot Ghost Team One from the first person perspective; but, by acting as a spoof, Ghost Team One presents these tricks as self-referential critiques of the genre. Personally, I wish Peyser and Rutherford would have elaborated on how (and why) the finished product is edited into such a cohesive story; but, again, most examples of first person filmmaking avoid any explanation of how the “found footage” became so well structured into a tradition three-act narrative.