Movie Review: Pay the Ghost (2015)

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Sarah Wayne Callie and Veronica Ferres

Directed by: Uli Edel

Mike Lawford’s son, Charlie, gets kidnapped on Halloween during a carnival and one year later Mike begins seeing images which he can’t explain. Determined to find his son he will stop at nothing to uncover the truth behind his disappearance.

I used to watch Nicholas Cage movies for all the right reasons but recently I’ve been watching them to see how bad his movies can actually get. It’s a real shame what’s happened to his career as when I look back at movies such as The Rock, Con Air, Lord of War and Gone in Sixty Seconds when he was at his best for me, but since around 2007/2008 he’s dramatically gone down hill with many straight to DVD style movies. After seeing Pay the Ghost pop up on my recommended for you section on Netflix and my boss at work saying it was a really good watch I thought what the hell, lets give it a whirl.

Nic Cage plays Mike Lawford who is an accomplished professor living the family life in New York City with wife, Kristen and son, Charlie. It’s Halloween and Mike stays late at work and misses taking Charlie out trick or treating but makes it back to take him to the carnival down the street from their house. Upon getting ice cream Charlie vanishes and panic begins to set into Mike as Charlie disappears without a trace. Almost a year later, Mike and Kristen have separated due to Charlie’s disappearance and Mike begins seeing unexplainable things and hearing Charlie’s voice. Desperate to not give up on his son, knowing he’s somewhere out there, he reconnects with his wife to begin to delve into the world of the unknown where he believes Charlie is being kept. After unveiling the truth, Mike has to cross the portal into a demons domain to try and retrieve Charlie before it’s too late.

Initially my first impressions of Pay the Ghost were actually surprisingly good as the start was tense and exciting with just the right amount of horror mixed in. Nicholas Cage played his role well and as did Sarah Wayne Callies who played wife, Kristen. The mystery surrounding the story and disappearance of Charlie was intriguing and I thought that this Nicolas Cage movie was going to be different from the many others from his recent filmography. Unfortunately though the second half of the movie failed to continue the momentum that the first half built up. Pay the Ghost became very predictable and at times a little confusing as everything seemed to just conveniently fall into place. Also, seeing Nicholas Cage chase after a bus is something that nobody wants to see anymore, that was a tough scene to sit through.

To summarise, Pay the Ghost had a promising opening but disappointingly didn’t manage to maintain its quality into the second half. While Pay the Ghost is nowhere near the level of which Nicholas Cage is capable of, it’s certainly better than some of his other recent work.


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