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Poor acting low budget terrible horror movie. The concept is sort of there but not quite.
The acting and direction are minor league but the idea is a good one just poorly exorcised.
Ghost from the Machine (Matt Osterman, 2010)
Last Tuesday (which as I write this was December 10) was one of those rare days when I didn't put a single foot wrong with my movie watching; everything that came off my Netflix queue ended up being pure gold. Of the bunch, my favorite was Ghost from the Machine, a low-budget thriller bursting with intelligence. It crossed my mind more than once that this is the movie Primer wanted to be and, in my estimation, never managed to become. So, needless to say, Universal is remaking it, rather than using the rights to push a film that deserves far, far wider recognition than it has so far gotten. Why do I get the distinct impression the remake, if it ever surfaces, will be dumbed down to the point where it'll be unrecognizable?
Plot: Cody (See Jane Run's Sasha Andreev)'s parents died in a car accident, and since then, he has had two obsessions: taking care of his younger brother James (Aberration's Max Hauser) and building a machine that will allow him to communicate with his parents in the afterlife. Of course, doing such things requires parts, parts, and more parts, and a certain combination of same brings him to the attention of Tom (Factotum's Matthew Feeney), who builds pieces on the side that Cody has bought through the store Tom sells them to. Cody's machine, with all the bugs worked out of it, starts doing what it was made to do-with results that neither Cody nor Tom could have predicted.
The great thing about Ghost from the Machine, like last year's similarly excellent Bellflower, is that this is a movie that Osterman could have easily taken in a generic sci-fi or horror direction, but instead, this reminded me a great deal of the wonderful little 2004 French film Les Revenants; Osterman instead focuses on the characters' reactions to what's going on around them rather than spending all the movie's time reveling in the wonderment of "hey, look what we did, and how many CGI effects we used to do it!". This is not a movie for the stuff-blows-up crowd, which unfortunately limits its appeal to the broad market, but those who appreciate intelligence, empathy, and a great story will find this exactly the kind of thing they've been looking for all their lives without realizing it. ****
Very interesting premise and some cool ideas to explore, but it felt incomplete and unfinished.
A little over a year ago, Cody's parents died in a car accident. He's been left grief stricken over the event. Now he takes care of his younger brother, James, the best he can while spending much of his time in the garage trying to perfect a machine to talk to the dead. When it becomes a success, it's almost by accident which in turn causes a strange rift between the after life and the real world. Cody's brother, and a electrician named Tom, become overwhelmed by sudden phenomenon that begin to plague them.
Tom experiences several strange moments that involve dishes being moved on their own. His deceased wife's picture is always up right after he faces it down on the table. She appears at random in the most important part of his life where he's in the midst of a new relationship. He's trying to move on, but this...this is really going to unsettle things. So he tasks himself to figure out why there's such a high EMF in the area. It leads him to Cody and his machine. At first, he wishes it to be destroyed until out of a sheer act of selfishness decides to steal the machine from Cody for his own personal amusement. All hell breaks loose as a result.
This is a situational drama with ghost like elements to basically enclose a type of question of what is better left in the after life should very well stay there. It may not be something to toy with even if we want closure. Same could be said in the film 'White Noise', but sadly that film never used the paranormal element as a source for interesting questions. I mean at least put some fucking thought into the supernatural sometimes so at least we can be mentally stimulated while, of course, being creeped out.
For such a low budget, it's writer/director Matt Osterman sure knows how to put it to good use. His direction is sleek and well invokes a sense of actual paranormal phenomenon while never being silly. Also there's no cgi bullshit here and relies heavily on the less is more factor. It worked tremendously in this case. I also loved the ending which felt like a complete loss to Cody and his brother James. Because you have to remember this isn't just a ghost story, but a drama as well.
Overall, This film is very much like Primer meets White Noise. (More Primer than anything to be honest with a supernatural element as oppose to a time travel one.)
This horror/sci-fi has an interesting premise but its narrative is rather clumsy, with no clear point or end...its failure wasn't its limited budget or acting, it was Matt Osterman's novice execution.
Remember that cool little sci-fi movie a few years ago called Primer? It was about 2 guys who build a time machine in their garage and end up creating a whole heap of alternate realities? Phasma Ex Machina is a similar film about a grieving science student who creates a machine in his garage that uses electronic energy to open a doorway to the hereafter in an attempt to bring his parents back. "Crossing over" is a concept that we've seen over and over but this movie does it differently. There's a strong emotional core that drives this story along and the characters in it are genuine and believable. There are no typical ghostly devices or scare tactics and the story is told in a believable way that almost makes you forget that it's fantasy. The finale is particularly effective and the end credits really brought the movie home. If you love supernatural and/or spiritual films then check this one out because its a real sleeper. It's win all the way as far as I'm concerned.
There's a classic in here somewhere, a micro-budget film about a young man who, distraught at the death of his parents, invents a machine which allows spirits to pass from the "other side" back to this one. Sad and interesting, it's let down by poor acting (although what do you expect from a film made for spare change?) and a sense they weren't sure how to wrap things up. Still, absolutely worth watching.
Two brothers loose their parents in the accident. The older, instead of looking after they younger one, spends his time on building the electric machine to bring the parents back. The premise may sound cheap, but in the end of the day, the indie-movie isn't stupid. It has this touch of indie-movies such as 'Bubble', 'Primer' or, only recently, 'Frenemy'. Nice watch.
The only thing remotely interesting in this movie is Sasha Andreev