Julie is a psychology major who's doing a thesis on ghosts (huh?), so she gets together with some college friends to shoot a film inside the haunted Goldfield Hotel (huh??). According to whoever, George Winfield, the guy who built the hotel, tortured his mistress Elizabeth to death in one of the rooms after finding out she was cheating on him with the hotel's bartender (Rowdy Roddy Piper!). To add some spice to the mix, the nice guy even threw the illegitimate baby down a mineshaft. Now Elizabeth's ghost roams the hotel, reliving the tragedy each night and asking where her baby is. Wacky hijinks with ghosts and people ensue.
While the 1999 HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL remake was flawed in spots, it was a fun trip with ghosts f*cking people up and causing mucho creepiness. It was also miles above what first-time director Ed Winfield gives us in GHOSTS OF GOLDFIELD, which is yet another example of why there are bargain bins at Wal-Mart. Originally titled to be the fourth installment of the URBAN LEGEND series, there are more than a few good reasons why this isn't the case now.
The first strikes against the film are the directing and acting. Perhaps it's first-time jitters, but Winfield certainly showed a lack of skill when it came to building suspense or putting together effective scare sequences. In other words, it was a boring, paint-by-numbers type of effort that couldn't do much of anything. Meanwhile, the cast were equally cookie-cutter (the clown, the nice guy, the whiner, the straight-laced guy), and weren't able to convey the appropriate emotions when the situation calls it. Nor were they able to say their lines without coming off as sounding awkward or stupid. The only cast member that had it going was The Rowdy One and his obviously fake sideburns. But even then, Piper's flashback scenes were largely wasted.
The backhander to those two would be the effects. Now, I realize that it's a low budget film that was shot for a million clams, but after seeing what could be done in other low budget films, hell, even low budget indie films, it's pretty disappointing what we're given here. Roddy's sideburns aside, the ghostly image of Elizabeth consisted of her wandering around with her red eyes, flowing white gown, crazed expression and skimpy undies. Really. Throw some crappy CGI effects in there, along with a shortage of blood (a ghost carrying around a severed but bloodless head kind of defeats the purpose of it all), lame attempts at hiding no bad effects (burning out someone's eye with a cigar, but showing the back of the hand for the majority of it), and you have to wonder what the million bucks was spent on.
Really, the only things I can say about the film that were positives were the hilarious sex scene involving two of the stupid teens that amounted to a bunch of dubbed-in moans and closeups of stupid facial expressions. Of course, nothing else kills a mood more than having the score being overly loud during your sexings, but that just makes the whole thing that much funnier. That, and the decap by shovel, which again was so badly executed it was good (this was probably where all the blood budget went). Oh yeah, I could say the end credits were a saving grace, but everyone who sees this film will say that.
I'm sure one of the few reasons why this film saw the light of day was due to the recent 'success' of Kellan Lutz in TWILIGHT and the PROM NIGHT remake. Sort of like how THE RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE attempted to capitalize on the successes of Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey. Really, in making that comparison, do I have to say if I thought GHOSTS OF GOLDFIELD was good? If you're smart, say 'no', and rent HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL instead of this.
Video: Another screener with 'Property of' plastered on it, so instead of lambasting the transfer, I have to let it slide.
Audio: See above.
Other than the startup trailer for the film (which is equally if not worse than the film itself), nothing. The retail disc apparently will have director commentary and stills gallery in addition to the film's trailer.
Think of this as the mature version of the Scooby-Doo gang. That is, take out the ghost story plot from a kid's cartoon and 'good for it's time' animation, insert a more lame ghost story plot from an adult's movie with crappy CGI effects, keep the same dialogue but add swears, release it on DVD and hope some unsuspecting fan of Kellan Lutz buys it. That, my friends, is GHOSTS OF GOLDFIELD. Avoid it.