I Am a Ghost was directed by H.P Mendoza, which is a name most people have never heard. However, he became popular on the indie film circuit when he wrote a script for the 2006 film Colma: The Musical. Since then, he's been involved with a few films, but the most well-known of them all is I Am a Ghost. Made on an extremely low budget and fiercely hard to get hold of until the widespread availability of online streaming, the film was made popular by its premise - what if the ghost was the one being haunted?
However, after the initial excitement of there being something new and innovative out, word of mouth made I Am a Ghost a cult classic. It was spoken about on film blogs by film critics, but it is a film which was very much touted by seasoned horror fans, not an unreasonably large marketing budget.
Emily (played by Anna Ishida) haunts a Victorian house in an unknown time period. She goes about her daily life, minding her own business, until one day she hears a voice that seemingly comes from nowhere. It turns out to be the voice of Sylvia (Jeannie Barroga), a psychic who makes a living exorcising spirits from people's houses. Because of that, Sylvia has to help Emily come to terms with the fact that she's dead and help her move to "the other side."
The film cost $10,000 to make, and a lot of that was raised through Kickstarter. I Am a Ghost could never have a mainstream release. It's a film that starts with 15 minutes of near-silence; a loop of scenes, each one with an incredibly small variation. Emily feels restless, and so do we. However, just as the audience is about to give up, the story begins to reveal itself and the film kicks into gear.
I Am a Ghost, for its budget, is a remarkably well-made film. The lighting isn't the sharpest (although it is functional), but the sound design is brilliant and there is some very impressive make-up design. In fact, the thing this most reminds me of is David Lynch's brilliant short-film series The Alphabet. This is an extremely experimental film from start to finish, and although it has a short running time of 76 minutes, it is one that rewards concentration and patience.
On the surface, it's a ghost story, but the entire basis of the film is effectively a conversation between a therapist and patient, and a young woman's attempts to reconcile with her own death. The best thing about this film - and it's the best thing about all abstract films - is that it perfectly straddles the line between the metaphorical and literal. It also doesn't skimp on the horror elements. The end of I Am a Ghost is dark, gory and threatening, and I think it will satisfy the fans who were expecting something visceral.
Horror films this unique and exciting are genuinely rare, and it is one of the most interesting horror films I've seen in years. It's ambitious, daring, experimental, and delivers an emotional and an intelligent payoff. It's available to stream on YouTube for £2.50-£4.50 and is well worth the rental price. If you're a horror fan, do yourself a favour and check this