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Home > Ghosts of the Ozarks (2021): A Review

Ghosts of the Ozarks (2021): A Review

Ghosts of the Ozarks

A Historical Horror With a Subtle Commentary on Humanity

Ghosts of the Ozarks (2021) is a mystery-horror-western film. Originally premiering at the Austin Film Festival 2021, Matt Glass (The Party’s Just Beginning) and Jordan Wayne Long (12 Hour Shift) co-direct the film. Sean Anthony Davis (Think Brilliance), Jordan Wayne Long, and Tara Perry (Proxy) co-write the screenplay.

Set in the South during the Reconstruction era, the film Ghosts of the Ozarks is an expanded version of the Ghosts of the Ozarks (2016) short starring some of the same cast. 

The full-length feature film stars Thomas Hobson (That Girl Lay Lay) as James ”Doc” McCune and Star Trek franchise veteran Phil Morris (Doom Patrol) as his uncle Matthew McCune. Also starring is Tim Blake Nelson (Old Henry) as the blind and emotionally damaged Torb, while Angela Bettis (Girl Interrupted) stars as his well-lived Lucille. Tara Perry (Proxy) stars as Annie. David Arquette (12 Hour Shift, Scream) breaks from directing to appear as Douglas.

The story is simple. It follows a young war-scarred physician, James ”Doc” McCune (Hobson), invited by his uncle Matthew (Morris) to live and work as a doctor in the small utopian Ozark town of Norfolk, Arkansas. James soon discovers a supernatural presence menacing his new home.

Ghosts of the Ozarks is a well-crafted film with attention to the level of detail typical in many period pieces. It is a fresh take on the genre-straddling, horror-western, where people keep winding up dead. 

The performances across the board are strong, with a plethora of secondary characters reminiscent of the players in a carnival, quiet and mysterious, with backstories best left for another time. The surreal nature of the residents adds depth to the project. At the same time, creative art and set design produce a horrific atmosphere without high-budget special effects.

Hobson is worth watching. His character’s dramatic approach lends a foundation to the film, emphasizing that not everything in the world is obvious or explainable. 

Ghosts of the Ozarks

The film’s tension derives from the unseen. While what scares a person is mostly personal, fear of the unknown can be the most insidious of all horror types. This film is grounded in history while remaining simultaneously otherworldly. Ghosts of the Ozarks integrates the unknown into all aspects of the film. The demon ghosts are implied throughout the film, only materializing in the last 30 minutes, adding suspense. The unhurried drumbeat-style pacing creates tension and frustration. The dialogue’s almost drawl-like aspect allows the characters to unravel the mystery and explain their place in the town. At times, the soundscape is a bit weird, which further adds to the unsettling quality of the movie. The score is ominous, persistent, almost insidious, enhancing a mood that carries the story through to the end.

Ghosts of the Ozarks is not a blood and slash movie catapulting headlong, one ‘gotcha’ after another, to a gory finish. It does not have a never-before-seen twist. Instead, it is a subtle commentary on humanity with masterful directorial elements. 

Admittedly, some of the dialogue in the Ghosts of the Ozarks raises secondary underlying concepts – touching on the never-ending conflict between the government, society, and individuals. But, if viewers consider only these more complex ideals, they will be missing a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Produced by David Arquette, Matt Glass, Jordan Wayne Long, Michael May, Christina McLarty Arquette, and Tara Perry, dates for the already confirmed sequel have not been set.

Ghosts of the Ozarks (2021), distributed by XYZ Films, is currently available for pre-purchase, Video on Demand, and digital. It was released in select theaters on February 3rd, 2022. 

With a run time of 107 minutes, this film is an easy choice for a couple of hours of diverting western-horror entertainment.

Ghosts of the Ozarks

Ghosts of the Ozarks (2022) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Writer at Dead Talk News | +1 (650) 308-4023 | austxfilms@gmail.com | Posts

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