In the early 90's, the internet was slowly catching on and virtual reality was supposed to be the next big thing. Whilst the internet is pretty much one of the more vital things in technology today, virtual reality never quite took off the way it was expected to, and merely became yet another fad. Nonetheless, the 90's were filled with movies that focused on these, and while there are still movies trying to scare us from the internet, the 90's also gave us movies that tried to make virtual reality scary. Well, "Ghost in the Machine" tried to make both scary-and failed miserably.
Karl Hopkins (Ted Marcoux) is a technician in a computer shop whose also a serial killer called "The Address Book Killer" (no, really) who get's the names of his victims via stolen...I'm not even going to finish the sentence, it's just too stupid. Well, Terry Munrow (Karen Allen) and her son Josh (Wil Horneff) leave the shop, and Karl's got his eyes set on them...only to end up in a car wreck. After dying in a cat scan, his soul is transformed into electrical energy, and he's now got unfinished business to attend to. Can super hacker Bram Walker (Chris Mulkey) help save the day. Also, this has nothing to do with the synopsis I'm giving, but Jessica Walter (best known as overbearing mother Lucille Bluth in "Arrested Development") is in this.
Next to "Feardotcom", "Ghost in the Machine" (which has nothing to do with the song from The Police) is the worst "the internet is scary!" horror movie I've ever seen-the kind of movie that's insulting and offensive in how awful it is. The direction is uninspired, the premise is ludicrous but eventually uninteresting, the kills are awful even by the standards of bad slasher movies (only one is particularly gory), and the characters are dull and unlikable, especially Terry's son, whose nothing but an unsympathetic, snot-nosed brat. The acting is bad as well-Allen seems uninterested in the whole affair, and is clearly thinking "Come on, I was in "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Malcolm X" and the Steven Soderbergh movie "King of the Hill." This is what my career's come down to?" Meanwhile, Mulkey is as milquetoast as they get, and Marcoux is really bland as the killer, as he's nothing more than a poor man's Freddy Krueger or Shocker (and "Shocker was a bad movie.)
Another thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is how clueless the director and writers* are when it comes to technology. Everything about it-from how the internet and computers work (even by early 90's standards it's sad) to how hackers work and how viruses are spread feels like it was written by people who simply looked at the covers and synopsis' of computer manuals and nothing more.
I wish there was something I could recommend about this movie, but there isn't. I will say this: I've noticed a lot of mixed to positive reviews of it on the Internet Movie Database, and those are the ones that people found the most helpful. Personally, I think that this doesn't help the commentor's reputations as people who aren't particularly intelligent, so I'll give my two cents: if you constantly bitch about the state of horror today, and hold this as an example of how it's done, or if you like this in general, than you either a.) haven't seen enough movies in your lifetime, b.) have poor taste, or c.) are absolutely fucking stupid.
Seriously, fuck this movie. I'd give it the dreaded "no" rating, but I feel like I give that out too much sometimes, so...
*Director Rachel Talalay previosuly directed the worst "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie ever (yes, worse than the remake) with "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare." After this movie, she directed the inspired little guilty pleasure "Tank Girl" (oh Lori Petty, you shoulda been a star), but after that tanked, she ended up sticking with TV work.
Writer William Osborne previously wrote "Twins" and "The Real McCoy." After this, he wrote "Kevin of the North", "Thunderbirds", "The Scorpion King" and "Fat Slags." Co-writer William Davies worked with Osborne in the past, but also wrote "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot!" and "Johnny English." Amazingly, he wrote the screenplay for one of last year's best movies "How To Train Your Dragon."