Despite winning the Best Horror Short award at the 2018 15 Minutes of Fame Festival, Ghost App left lots to be desired. Director Gerald J. Godbout III attempts to introduce a fresh concept in mixing supernatural horror with tech-horror, but fails in the execution. The plot surrounds a young woman who is terrorized by ghosts which she can only see through a phone app that shares the film’s title.
The main problem with the concept is how it is introduced and handled in the bookend credit sequences. An unknown man pulls up in a car along a quiet street and call an unsuspecting woman at home which sets off what is supposed to be a series of terrifying events—perhaps for the main female character, but not for audiences. The post-credits sequence introduces the twist ending, where the app captures the person it terrorized doesn’t have the punch it tries to pull because it is preceded by horror cliches.
The first time we see the unnamed female protagonist—in a shirt and underwear watching a movie on the couch, no less—she receives a text from a number she doesn’t know. The texter asks if she believes in ghosts before sending her a link to the Ghost App . This sequence appears a direct ripoff of the opening scene of Wes Craven’s Scream, only substituting a smartphone for a landline.
She blows the guy off and falls asleep watching the movie, after which the tv screen is filled with static. Poltergeist, anyone? She is then forcibly awakened by an unseen force by the blanket being yanked off of her (Paranormal Activity). Frightened, she must use the app on her phone to see who or what is assailing her.
From that point on, the film relies on jump scares to get an audience reaction. One such scare utilizes an actor in makeup to make a child ghost look reminiscent of the Grudge with stringy black hair and a distorted face.
The film does manage to make the app look convincing, especially since it serves as a camera to see the undead. For this technological achievement, the film crew should be commended. However, Ghost App’s lack of originality and effective scares in its 13 minute runtime makes it an ineffective exercise in horror.