The Ghostmaker (Box of Shadows) (2011) is a surprisingly good film surrounding a mysterious machine that allows for astral travel. There are story elements that are cliches added to act as fillers for character backgrounds, but the actors give good performances and work with the source material. This is a rare example where a modern B-grade, supernatural thriller is entertaining, watchable, and has a unique twist. The Ghostmaker won’t astonish audiences, but it will satisfy.
Kyle (Aaron Dean Eisenberg) discovers a strange coffin while cleaning out the basement of an old woman. He originally plans to sell it to pay two drug dealers, but upon further research and examination, with the help of friends Platt (Jared Grey) and Sutton (J. Walter Holland), they find “the coffin,” a device created in the 15th century to allow for astral travel. At first, their experiences with the coffin are exhilarating–but at a price.
The idea of a coffin as an aid for astral travel is an intriguing plot point, and the setup of its origins and function was well thought out by director Mauro Borrelli. It is an attractive device that produces a hauntingly beautiful tune operating at a low frequency to shut off the brain–creating a brief state of clinical death in order for the user’s soul to leave the body. However, use of the device has it’s own drawbacks in the form of a reaper creature who searches for users of the coffin as they have cheated death. Kyle and Sutton also begin to experience erratic personality shifts from excessive usage of the device.
Kyle’s background serves to make his character more interesting, but not much explanation is given as to how his downward spiral began. Sutton’s reason for being in a wheelchair is not explored either, so the film is lacking a little in character development. But they hold attention just enough for the audience to have feelings towards them.
The cinematic presentation for The Ghostmaker is very crisp and professional; it looks as if produced by a major movie studio for this low-budget feature. The actors did a very good job of staying in character and possessed solid acting skills. While The Ghostmaker isn’t the greatest supernatural thriller ever, you can still see where Borrelli’s hard work paid off with this one.
The Ghostmaker (2011) special features include:
- Commentary with director Mauro Borrelli and producers Ed Polgardy and Scott Rudolph
- Behind the Box: The Making of The Ghostmaker
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailer Gallery
- Widescreen Presentation
- English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
- Optional English and Spanish Subtitles
Behind the Box takes the viewer into what went into creating The Ghostmaker and the castmembers’ thoughts on the script and how the final cast was chosen for the film. Insights as to the coffin prop and visual effects were given by the crew members, showing a good amount of care and detail went into the film’s production. Deleted scenes don’t add much to the overall plot and the over dramatic music in them would have ruined the mood of the film.