There’s a school of ghost/haunting films that I just don’t understand. You set up a creepy premise, then do nothing but repetitive jump scares for the next hour until everything is resolved in a big effects scene. Forget about character development. If the actors can’t sell you on having any personality beyond a perma-scream face, there is none.
The Screen at Kamchanod is one of these horror movies. A doctor sets out to do a controlled experiment related to a massive paranormal event. A few years before, at an ancient temple in the woods, a film was played for a crowd. Halfway through the movie, the room allegedly filled with ghosts that caused the crowd to disappear and the theater to burn down. The doctor will air the same film at the same location–now just a field–to prove that this kind of event doesn’t happen.If The Screen at Kamchanod actually followed through with this premise, it could have been great. The acting is quite good. The characters feel like they have known each other for years and the few defining characteristics–a suicidal and abused girlfriend, laser-focused doctor, a stoner thief–are built up into believable beings. You want to root for them.
The problem is that there is nothing to root for. The five core characters find a print of the movie and screen it right then and there. Ghosts show up and start to haunt them for an hour before the big effects-driven finale. The scares are always the same–paranoia, slight shot of a ghost in a corner/doorway/bookshelf/bed/table, scream, other person shows up to see what’s wrong, nothing there, other person leaves, full sighting, more screams.
I will admit that the screening scene is quite creepy. It’s variations of ghosts climbing through the theater to reach the characters and it works. The cast really sells the repetition here. If they stuck together the rest of the film, it could have worked.They don’t. The Screen at Kamchanod is dominated by two person scenes with the same pairings over and over. The husband is with his wife. The girlfriend is with the doctor or the stoner. The doctor, the central figure of the scene, might get a passing scene with the stoner or husband, but everyone quickly reverts to their designated scene partner. It’s as repetitive and dull as the identically timed scares.
Somewhere in The Screen at Kamchanod is a good film. It’s just not edited that way. Shuffle the scenes around and trim out 15 minutes and it could work. The editing and flow of the scenes are just too repetitive to hit like they should.
Have you seen The Screen at Kamchanod yet? It’s available to screen right now on Netflix Instant. Love to hear what you think about it.