Arrow Video FrightFest 2022: The Ghosts of Monday Is a Very Mixed Bag

I love it when movies don’t tell you what they are right up front. Sure, it can be fun to know exactly what you’re in for before the film even begins, but it’s even better when you let the movie itself slowly reveal that to you. And that’s why I decided to give The Ghosts of Monday a shot. The plot synopsis was vague enough that I wasn’t quite sure what it would be, but it was interesting enough that I wanted to know more, so I took the plunge and decided to check this film out.

The Ghosts of Monday was directed by Francesco Cinquemani, and it stars Julian Sands, Anthony Skordi, Mark Huberman, and Marianna Rosset. It’s about a TV crew that goes to an infamous hotel to film a pilot for a paranormal investigator show, and while there, they learn that the legend behind the place is not to be taken lightly.

I thought that premise sounded really promising, and for the first 10 minutes or so, I was totally on board with The Ghosts of Monday. For starters, the acting was pretty good, so I had no trouble connecting with the characters. They all felt like real people, and I liked them just about instantly. On top of that, this first part of the movie was also permeated by a feeling of dread, and as a fan of atmospheric horror, I was completely eating it up.

I thought I was in for a real treat with this film, but then at about the 10-minute mark, everything changed. Some of the characters had a brief but intense disagreement about the nature of the show, and the dialogue became oddly unrealistic. It’s tough to put it into words, but they just weren’t talking the way real people talk, and it felt like that artificially exacerbated the conflict. It made the whole situation difficult to buy into, and this problem persisted throughout the rest of the film.

A person in water

Granted, not all the dialogue in The Ghosts of Monday is like this, but enough of it is that it kept taking me out of the story every so often. It continually reminded me that these were actors reading lines, so I lost the connection I had made with the characters earlier.

What’s more, I also found some of the acting to get worse at this point too. Most notably, Mark Huberman, the actor who plays the showrunner of the TV show they’re trying to make, delivers a lot of his lines in a really weird, almost aggressive way. This problem usually pops up when his lines become less realistic, so like my issue with the dialogue, this one didn’t pervade the entire film either. However, it also happened often enough that it bothered me and made it even harder for me to buy into the story.

On top of that, once the 10-minute mark hit, the atmosphere also became a bit tiresome. It seemed like the film was trying too hard to inject a feeling of dread into just about every single shot, and it simply didn’t work for me. Granted, I love a pervasive horror atmosphere, but it has to feel natural. It has to feel like it arises from the story itself, but the atmosphere in this part of The Ghosts of Monday wasn’t like that. It felt like it was being artificially inserted into the story, so it lost its effectiveness for me.

Then, as the film progressed, a final problem arose. At first, the story sets itself up as a mystery, so you don’t know what exactly is going on with this hotel. It seems like it’s probably haunted, but you’re not entirely sure, and even if it is haunted, you don’t really know what the potential malevolent presence wants or is capable of. However, at around the half-hour mark, we get a clue about the true nature of the place, and it’s a dead giveaway. I immediately figured out exactly where the plot was going, and up until the last 15 minutes or so, nothing that happened surprised me in the least.

The Ghosts of Monday poster

Granted, I didn’t know all the details of how the narrative would play out, but I could tell what kind of story this was. It’s something we’ve seen a million times before, so the details needed to be interesting enough to hold my attention. But unfortunately, they weren’t. They felt just as cliched as the overarching plot, so by the time I got to the finale of The Ghosts of Monday, I had already checked out of the story emotionally.

But then something unexpected happened. I enjoyed the last 15 minutes quite a bit. They have some pretty fun horror, and they even introduce a few interesting twists to the mythology of the hotel. It’s actually not as unoriginal as the movie initially led me to believe, so I was genuinely surprised by the way everything worked out in the end. Because of that, the movie ended on a pretty good note, and I almost forgot about how I had been feeling about it previously.

Almost. As good as this finale is, it’s not quite strong enough to outweigh all the negatives in The Ghosts of Monday. On the whole, I’d say this is a pretty mixed bag with a bit more bad than good, so it’s your call whether you want to check it out or not. I wouldn’t exactly recommend it, but there’s enough good in here that you definitely won’t be wasting your time if you do give it a shot.

The Ghosts of Monday plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on August 29, and it’ll be released on VOD in the UK and Ireland on September 5. At this time, it doesn’t have a release date in the USA and Canada, but an announcement about that is expected to be made shortly.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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