Light From Light-A Dull Ghost Story
There's a difference between a deliberately slow-moving film and a movie that's merely using up time because it doesn't know where to go. Paul Harill's paranormal tale desperately wants to be like David Lowery's "A Ghost Story" to the point where Lowery Executive Produced this film himself. Unfortunately, it's clear that Lowery wasn't the one sitting in the Director's chair as the lingering in this film, unlike "A Ghost Story" left no lasting effect. I get what Paul Harrill is aiming for, anyone who's paying attention to the film will get it. Death is still, quiet; we're allowed time to pontificate, perhaps obsess over our loved ones. At a certain point though this pontification rears itself into dull ineffective preaching.
Sheila (Marin Ireland) is a car lot assistant by day and a paranormal investigator at night. Unlike "Ghost Adventures" Zak Baggins she's not tearing her shot off, yelling at ghosts like a dorm room bro. She's calm, articulate, and very depressed. Everyone in this movie is sad. All the notes of each performance are played on a singular exhausted funeral like tone. Each character was written as the same sluggish impersonal being providing me with no emotional investment in them. Shelia receives a call to meet Richard (Jim Gaffigan) who believes his dead wife is trying to contact him from the other side. The entire film is just a big leadup to (SPOILER WARNING) a page being turned by a ghost. I'm oversimplifying what the ending means, but honestly, it's a big reveal that's not worth the time I spent watching people stare at inanimate objects for two hours straight. Not to crudely draw comparisons but the reason David Lawery's "A Ghost Story" worked with its deliberate pacing was that we as the audience were the ghost watching everything slowly unfold in front of us as we all felt like Casey Affleck's character who is gradually observing the world change in front of him. Where "A Ghost Story" actually goes places "Light from Light" aimlessly stays in the same place repeating the same boring scenes again and again. Some films can use repetition where its motifs works; other films just used them as filler. Well, get a glass ready because "Light from Light" will get anyone plastered on filler.
The audience I saw the film with seemed to enjoy "Light from Light" much more than I did. They drew connections to their relatives who passed away. I get that the film is aimed for anyone who has experienced a significant loss. I understand it's attempting to replication the stagnation of grief. For me, it didn't work. "Light from Light" had euphemisms that I could spot from a mile away. People who are in transitional phases working at dead-end jobs, being wordless in moments of agony, the constant use of grey, I get it. The layers to the film and its characters are paper thin, leaving nothing for me to think about after the credits rolled. Harkening back on "Ghost Adventures" I couldn't help but feel like I was watching an episode of that show just without the music.