Plot: An earthquake can unleash devastation on an epic scale, but when a quake hits at a high school, it unleashes something much more sinister. The seismic event has freed the vengeful spirit of the school’s former administrator Principal Danforth (M.C. Gainey), who plans to exact his cursed revenge upon the current students, unless someone can send him back into the afterlife. As it turns out, his grandson Quentin (Jonathan Baron) attends the school and while they might be related, Quentin could be the key to ending this paranormal assault. He rallies a group of his fellow students to try to escape the school’s supernatural shutdown, with some help from the mysterious janitor Ortiz (Danny Trejo). Can the students fend off Danforth’s ghostly revenge and how does Ortiz factor into this spectral chaos?
Entertainment Value: Now this is a premise that reels me in, an earthquake that awakens a ghost and a kindly, mystical janitor that helps guide a band of nerds through a supernatural crisis. And while some movies promise a wild concept on the artwork, then back off the premise in the actual film, that is not the case here, there is indeed a quake and a ghost, as promised. But the movie isn’t as fun or wild as the concept sounds, but if you’re a veteran of SyFy films of this kind, then you know about what to expect from Ghostquake. When the movie focuses on the ghost and Danny Trejo’s thread, it is a decent watch with some b movie vibes that entertain, but when it shifts focus to the teens, it grinds to a slow, dull pace. This is mainly due to Jonathan Baron and Shawn Phillips, who are painful to watch and are given a lot of screen time, which results in a lot of bland, annoying stretches. Phillips is shrill and unlikable, while Baron is unable to give us even a watchable lead performance, which is not good, as these two have a ton of the film’s focus. But there is just enough wackiness involved to make it worth a look, even if I can’t help but think about how much more fun this would be with interesting, colorful leads involved. If the combination of earthquakes and the paranormal in a SyFy package sounds fun to you, give Ghostquake a shot.
This was a made for television movie and while some of SyFy’s productions are given unrated releases on home video, Ghostquake is on the more wholesome end and is fairly family friendly. So it is no shock that there’s no sleaze, as there’s no real romance or sexual content at all. This carries over to the bloodshed as well, as there’s no gore or even mild violence. I don’t think this kind of premise needs sleaze and gore, but Ghostquake really leans on being family friendly, so it feels overly restrained and that holds back the concept, I think. As for dialogue, M.C. Gainey swings for the fences with puns, one liners, and manic exchanges, in a beyond over the top performance. I think some of the other lines would have entertained as well, but most of the humorous ones were fed to Phillips, who tanks line after line. I think his presence drags down the entire movie, but the dialogue is where he stinks up the place the most. The craziness isn’t as rampant and out of control as the premise suggests, but we have Gainey’s wild performance and the ridiculous finale, so those are worth a few points.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
The Disc: Mill Creek has included Ghostquake in their Apocalypse: 4 in 1 Collection, with three other disaster themed b movies. The movie looks fine here, a clean and clear looking presentation in all respects. As far as DVD treatments go, this is a solid one and the set spreads the four movies over two discs.