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Body of Deceit

Body of Deceit horror films aren’t famous for exercising much subtlety or tact, and Rich Ragsdale’s Ghost House Body of Deceit is no exception. The movie follows Julie (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Jim (James Landry Hébert) as they vacation in Thailand. They’re young and in love, but their romantic getaway loses some of its luster when the spirit of a vengeful woman begins to torment Julie after she is tricked into stealing one of the ghost’s possessions. Ghost House belongs to the long tradition of movies about white people carelessly blundering into other cultures and wreaking havoc. That sort of film might have worked if Ragsdale had been interested in critiquing such destructive privilege, but it’s beyond the film’s scope. Instead, Ghost House doubles down on its cluelessness with the inclusion of Gogo (Michael S. New), a Thai tour driver who puts his life and livelihood on the line to help the couple. (Hope he got a good tip.) Gogo is nowhere close to a fleshed-out human being — he exists solely to help his wooden benefactors when they get in a rut. But beyond the film’s ethnic stereotypes and flat characters, it needs to be scary, and it fails on that front as well. The movie’s jolts are cobbled together from other (better) horror films and exclusively of the jump variety. If Ghost House succeeds at anything, it’s in the low-key portrait of Thailand. The country has been immortalized in cinema as a playground for morally depraved Westerners (see Only God Forgives). It takes guts to make Bangkok look this boring. — Brian Marks

Duration: 92 min


IMDb: 4.1