Pay the Ghost

Critics Consensus

Pay the Ghost takes a weak stab at supernatural horror, but ultimately, it's only viewers who will pay for watching this sloppily assembled picture.



Total Count: 30


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,026
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Movie Info

One year after his young son disappeared during a Halloween carnival, Mike Cole is haunted by eerie images and terrifying messages he can't explain. Together with his estranged wife, he will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery and find their son - and, in doing so, he unearths a legend that refuses to remain buried in the past.


Nicolas Cage
as Mike Lawford
Lyriq Bent
as Detective Reynolds
Lauren Beatty
as Annie Sawquin
Sofia Wells
as Middle Child
Jack Fulton
as Charlie
Ho Chow
as Dai Wok Cook
Omar Alex Khan
as Medical Examiner
Kalie Hunter
as Ghost Annie
Liam Buckle
as Eldest Child
Aidan Wojtak-Hissong
as Youngest Child
Aidan Wojtak
as Hissong-Youngest Child
Caroline Gillis
as Priestess
Janet Lo
as Jai Wen
Darren Frost
as Ice Cream Vendor
Breeanna Booth
as University Student
Mark Irvingsen
as Angry Villager
Katerina Kerfoot
as Singing Lost Child
Fabio Lusvarghi
as Nun (Halloween Parade)
Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
as Lokos-Mr. Moldanado
Benjamin Wiebe
as Ghost Child
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Critic Reviews for Pay the Ghost

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (27)

  • If it's remembered for nothing else, and it almost certainly won't be, Uli Edel's "Pay the Ghost" can at least make a claim to being the first film to feature a haunted razor scooter in a horror setpiece.

    Sep 26, 2015 | Full Review…

    Andrew Barker

    Top Critic
  • A new low for Nicolas Cage. Just when you thought he couldn't get any more apathetic about a role, he pops up in this lazy, boring retread of "Insidious" that even his most diehard fans should ignore.

    Sep 25, 2015 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Fine, sure, "Pay the Ghost" if you have to. But do not pay good American money to see the movie of the same name.

    Sep 25, 2015 | Rating: D+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Sludgy greens and smudged blacks assault the eyes, and crashing sound cues accompany every scare - dead giveaways of a director, Uli Edel, who trusts neither his audience nor his images.

    Sep 25, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Tidbits that would make the film interesting have been squandered. Instead, we get the standard-issue haunted-house fodder.

    Sep 24, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In "Pay the Ghost," Nicolas Cage investigates a supernatural abduction but has no solution for the maggot-eaten zombie that is his undead career.

    Sep 24, 2015 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pay the Ghost

  • Feb 17, 2016
    The supernatural thriller Pay the Ghost is a creepy and atmospheric horror film. After a year of searching for his abducted son, college professor Mike Lawford begins to see his son's spirit reaching out for him and learns that he was taken to a netherworld by a witch. Nicolas Cage and Sarah Wayne Callies lead the cast and give fairly good performances. And the mystery is built up rather well; delivering an interesting backstory for the witch and the legend that surrounds her. Still, the pacing can be kind of slow and the directing is pretty bland. While it's a little formulaic and the low-budget quality shows through, Pay the Ghost manages to scare up a few chills.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 08, 2016
    If you enjoy Nicolas Cage, then you will enjoy this film. I enjoyed this film as it dealt with things you do not normally see in horror films today. The film kept me on the edge of my seat and had some great effects. I guess you would need to suspend belief a bit to enjoy this film, but well worth the cost I paid on blu-ray. Glad I own it. Take a chance and give it a viewing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did..
    V f Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2016
    Sooooooooo bad! But this is so very entertaining. Worth a watch if you love bad Cage movies.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2016
    I think, if you know me, then you really know why I ended up watching this movie last night. It's not because I found the plot intriguing or the trailer impressed me. I just wanted to watch Nicolas Cage act like a fool. So, color me surprised, when there was nothing resembling the lunatic Cage in this movie. I'm sure I've said this before, but I used to hate watching this guy, because he was either hamming it up or sounding like he was asleep. But, as the years have gone by, his real genius has been revealed to me and now he is one of my favorite actors to watch. And not necessarily for positive reasons. If you've seen Vampire's Kiss then you know when I say that when this man decides to go nuts, he can be one of the most bizarrely entertaining actors in the world. Though, to be fair, I think Vampire's Kiss is the peak of Cage lunacy. He's come close with The Wicker Man remake, but nothing will ever surpass VK in my mind. Don't get me wrong, Cage sounds just as uninspired as ever, but, somehow, and I don't know why, it seemed to me that he put a slightly bit more effort into this movie than he normally would in these low-budget, direct-to-video affairs that he's become known for in his later career. Maybe I'm the only one. Maybe I'm just paranoid and he actually put in about the same effort, as in barely any, into this movie as any of his other DTV movies. But, honestly speaking, this wasn't as terrible a movie as I was expecting. Which sounds like it should be positive, but it's not. Because the worse the movie is, the more Cage-isms we get. Not that I'd say that the movie is good or anything, but it was a perfectly acceptable movie, for the most part. Again, that doesn't mean it's good, but it's not what one would call a horrifyingly bad movie. There's a pretty decent concept here too, one that might actually have added to some legitimately creepy moments if it had stronger writing and a bigger budget. It's your typical 'woman is burned alive, along with her children, and she decides to haunt them after death' sort of thing, but there's a bit of a Celtic touch, which, honestly, is there in name only. I wish they would've done more with this, but it was not to be. The third act is a little goofy, but it is what it is. The acting is fine, nothing that anyone should be embarrassed about. It's not the type of movie I would watch again, since it didn't accomplish what I wanted it to accomplish, and I know that that's selfish, sue me, but it was perfectly fine and fairly watchable. I think there's a good movie underneath it all, it just never got to come out due to certain issues. I wouldn't recommend it, of course, it's not a good movie, but it's something that won't make you want to jump face-first off a 10-story building.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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