I get it; it’s hard being an actor skirting the outer rim of the A List. You’ve had a taste of fame and success, and you have a bunch of weirdo fans obsessing over you but you don’t quite have the clout to be on the cover of the best mags, appear on stage at the best awards ceremonies, star in the top grossing blockbusters, or pour from the lips of every water cooler denizen keen for the latest nugget of Hollywood goss. But you make a living. You have enough to get by, to be happy and to feed your family, and you’re content with the performances you’ve given and the legacy you’ll leave behind, even if there is that one final splash you’d love to make.
There’s an argument which states that the movie business doesn’t survive due to the big hitters, rather it’s the smaller films which are underseen and rarely make much money, but often propel the next big name upwards and keep the industry’s moving parts churning. If it feels like I’m trying to make a point, I’m not. I’ll continue anyway. When you’re a fan of these types of performers and these types of movies, you have to wade through a detestable amount of wank to find something worth the stench. The Haunting Of Goodnight Lane contains several not quite A Listers who’ve had their taste of glory, didn’t make a lot of money, and you won’t hear people talking about it unless someone makes a viral meme from one of the very gif and meme-worthy scenes within. It’s a very odd movie because on one hand it looks very cheap, but on the other it stars Billy Zane, Lacey Chabert, and Danielle Harris, and it’s your standard haunted house movie, but everyone involved seems to know how cheesy it is and plays up to the nonsense to create an entirely entertaining slice of whatthefuckery.
Set in the admittedly sort of interesting location of a low budget recording studio, it follows the employees of studio being tormented, possessed, and murdered by an annoying little girl ghost who’s having a strop because the studio replaced her old home and now it’s being sold or something. It’s hard to say because little girl ghosts get pissed off as irrationally as little girl non-ghosts. Billy Zane’s Alan is even more pissed off because he just wants to keep his deadlines met and schedule moving so that he can drink and bang the models. He also seems to be highly amused that he has landed this gig an is masterfully hamming up every single piece of dialogue he is given, and reacting with gloriously overwrought passivity to everything going on around him. It’s a comedy masterclass.
Joining him on his one man stand up show is Lacey Chabert as some sort of employee who wants to understand the girly ghost, Danielle Harris as a model/actress/dancer type and a bunch of unfamiliar faces there to have their faces smashed into nails in walls or exposed electric fans. There’s a smidge of gore here and there, plenty of jumpscares as the ghost seems to have a deep knowledge of cameras and computers, and an unnecessary backstory to fill in just why she’s so evil (spoiler alert – her daddy was Chuck Manson). There’s also the girl’s surviving relative, a grandmother who is inexplicably some sort of crazed medium instead a woman wracked with the pain and guilt of losing both a child and a grandchild. It doesn’t matter – you get gratuitous boob shots, shaky-head Tool video twisty twisty bits, and the cast having a lot of fun making what feels like a boozy weekend shoot by a bunch of mates done for fun in between filming something important.
It is fun. It’s silly, it doesn’t amount to much, but it is fun. I laughed more than I usually do at the big hit comedies which are supposed to make me laugh and it was cool to see Lacey in something that wasn’t a Hallmark movie. Danielle is always great, Billy Z deserves all the praise for his line about the ghost hating doors, and it’s short enough that if you hate it you won’t lose much of your life by watching it. Enjoy?