You can just never know what to expect from ghosts these days.
Your seemingly docile neighbour, doting partner or generic unsettling stranger in an alleyway — an evil spirit can inhabit any well-meaning exterior and you would be none the wiser.
Thankfully, director David Lowery has finally put this right by bringing back (or just bringing once?) the sheet ghost into the sphere of mainstream Hollywood spooks.
There’s no catch. This is not a joke. A sheet with two eyeholes is the scary antagonist in this movie. Forget SFX, filmmaking is about authenticity, right?
The plot of A Ghost Story is succinctly defined in its Wikipedia synopsis : ‘After dying, a man haunts his wife’. If ever there was a blurb to attach to Casey Affleck‘s unemotional public personality or Rooney Mara‘s placid supporting persona, A Ghost Story has found its perfect match.
Mara’s raspy voiceover and completely unexplosive grief set up AGS as a female counterpoint Manchester by the Sea, with an added gothic indie score, and without Lucas Hedges. And with a sheet ghost.
Dealing with loss and heartache, the camera dances around family scenes and flits between Mara’s loneliness and the warmth of companionship. It would be an ode to Terrence Malick in a Tree of Life meets Song to Song kind of way — but there’s also a sheet ghost. Did we mention there was a sheet ghost?
From the studios that produced Best Picture win Moonlight, A24 has already seen fantastic reception for AGS at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, audiences praising the contemplative and mesmerizing sadness of the upcoming indie flick.
Maybe by the time it’s released, we’ll be able to move past the stereotypically ‘sad but not angry’ demeanour which plagues both lead stars’ reputations. But for now, try and calculate the ratio of Rooney Mara contemplative gazes to gothic sheet ghost wide shots. The bets are on.
Originally published on Konbini