Ghost in the Machine

1993

Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

100
IMDb Rating 4.6 10 3,183

Synopsis


Downloaded times
September 26, 2020

Director

Cast

Jessica Walter as Elaine Spencer
Karen Allen as Terry Munroe
Matthew Glave as Rookie Cop
Richard Schiff as Scanner Technician
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
875.85 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.59 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by NonSequiturL 4 / 10 / 10

VHS memories

Everyone of a certain age has VHS memories. You know the ones I'm talking about - those hazy, barely remembered evenings of mediocre pizza and even more mediocre straight-to-video horror films. Films that you simply couldn't resist as they stared at you from the shelf with their box-art that promised more than the cassette inside could ever hope to deliver. Ghost in the Machine is one of my hazier VHS memories. I know I saw it when it made its way to video stores in the early 90's, but the details had long faded, like an old newspaper, or Eddie Murphy's career. I couldn't remember much of it, though one image had stayed with me - the bodies of a murdered family sitting together on a couch. After re-watching the film for the first time in almost twenty-three years, it's hard to see why that moment stuck with me - it's not really spectacular, or particularly gruesome - but it's NOT hard to tell why the rest of Ghost in the Machine didn't stay with me at all. That's not to say there's isn't fun to be had with this sci-fi supernatural thriller, but the proceedings do have an unshakeable cheap, straight-to-video flavor. Rachel Talalay - director of the most wretched of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, Freddy's Dead - is responsible for this one. This was her sophomore effort, and it came only a couple of years before she obliterated her big screen career with the epic box-office bomb Tank Girl. She was then banished to directing random episodes of Ally McBeal for the next couple of decades. It seems she's found a groove in TV direction lately though, working on Doctor Who and Sherlock... but I digress. Let's get back to the movie at hand. Ghost in the Machine was almost certainly green lit when hungry, drooling executives noticed The Lawnmower Man scraping in those Pierce Brosnan bucks and decided they wanted a piece of the early 90's tech-thriller pie. The plot centers around an individual known as the "address book killer" (yes, seriously). He crashes his car during a police chase and dies on the operating table. Since this happens in the middle of a lightning storm, naturally his consciousness inserts itself into nearby electrical equipment, leaving him free to continue murdering with the help of his newly acquired powers to jump into computers and dishwashers and stuff. Ghost in the Machine was made in an era when the public at large was still unaware of the impending societal paradigm shift that would come later in the decade. I'm talking about the rise of the internet, of course. As a result, the script is filled with hilarious talk of hackers, and nonsensical computer discussions that would make even the most tech-illiterate grandma of today giggle. What it does manage surprisingly well, is to tackle themes of technological fear. The personal computer was still a relatively new thing, and the idea of bringing something with so much unknown power into the home is a very real concern. We do it all the time now in the form of new cell phones and the social networks they connect us to, but there is always that worry we're messing with something we shouldn't be. It also played on the fear of the online stranger - the catfish - before it became the tangible boogeyman it is now. There are scenes where the young protagonist receives threatening messages from the killer, and in some ways these themes make the film more relevant now than it was upon release. Bargain bin fodder like Ghost in the Machine usually ages for the worse in all aspects, so kudos to the writers for making something so forgettable somewhat prescient... I guess. There are also some interesting special effects on display. Sure, much of it is terrible 90's CGI, probably stolen from The Lawnmower Man's cutting room floor, but there are a few moments of cool practical work. The camera zooms in and out of machines on a microscopic level as the villain causes mayhem, and a ridiculous scene involving a microwave is impressively gruesome. That's where the good stuff ends. The cast aren't given much to work with. Karen Allen plays the concerned mother with a Dana Scully haircut, Rick Ducommun appears as a nerdy goofball, and Chris Mulkey is a knight in shining armor that's as boring as a budget airplane meal. It's all very bland, and I guess that's why it's gone mostly forgotten. The 90's-isms are embarrassing rather than charming, the story had already been done in other similar films, and it never really goes far enough. One thing I do wonder though, is if this film had any influence on the Final Destination series? Lists of people dying accident-like deaths at the mercy of an unseen supernatural force? There are enough similarities for me to believe it. But similarities to marginally better films aside, it's unremarkable at best. Maybe I should have left it as a VHS memory... like that dead family on the couch.

Reviewed by boondocksaint20 6 / 10 / 10

Great beginning, not-bad middle, horrible ending

This one flies like an airplane that is suddenly without a pilot; soaring at first, then, gradually, spinning out of control, and plummeting to its own doom. I was in the video store, looking for some mindless entertainment, and came across this one. I vaguely remember this one being out in theaters (I think I was 13 at the time), and since I couldn't remember if it was well received or not, I coughed up the 99 cents and brought it home anyway. What I got was only slightly better than average entertainment. The beginning is actually really good, believe it or not. I don't know if anyone else thought this, but I thought the guy playing the serial killer did a very convincing and rather frightening job. He really had me convinced that this was another one of those people in the news that could do such horrible things, and act like the quiet guy next door. I thought one of the opening scenes where you see the back side of a couch with a whole family watching tv, and then it pans around and you see them horribly mutilated was rather shocking, and in a weird type of sense, well done. The movie really had my attention at that point, especially when the mom (Karen Allen) and her son go into a computer store, and boom, there's the killer right there. I thought the whole idea about an address book killer was really good and original...I'll say again, this one had my interest peaked, only until I realized that I made the fatal mistake of reading the back cover of the box...at that point, I was simply dreading the part when the killer gets zapped into the electrical wires...boy are my instincts ever right. Before I start bashing this one, I have to say it may not have been a fairly original concept, but the writers sure dish out very creative ways to execute (no pun intended) some of the scenes in this one. This was made during the early days of windows, and even the internet (around 1993), or at least, when it was becoming popular in homes. Man, talk about deja vu all over again. Anyway, I did think it was cool how the killer got into this huge mainframe, obviously connected to some Central Office or some point of presence somewhere, and could get into people's houses when they simply dialed into the mainframe. He follows people everywhere, and begins to methodically kill everyone on the address book that Karen Allen leaves in the store. ***POSSIBLE, BUT UNLIKELY SPOILERS AHEAD*** The killings are way drawn out, not suspenseful, and will sometimes make you laugh at how ridiculous they are and how they are trying so hard to scare you. The part where the dog is watching the doggie show on tv and then the vhs tape spits out at him was classic...I almost choked on my beer with that one. But, you have to give the filmmakers credit, they tried really hard to make you scared, and at times, with little scenes here and there (a bowl of grapes deflating due to a bezerk microwave, the killer's garbled voice on the phone line, the body flying out of the oven while being cremated and of course, my favorite, the washing machine that displays sadistic wash cycles such as 'explode' and 'die'. Quite creepy, I must say when you see the scene.) their efforts shine. However, the deaths are pretty stupid and pretty pointless, except to continue where the address book killer left off by killing all of Karen Allen's friends. And then there are some really bad inconsistencies...the WORST being when the son finally discovers that the recent murders are all happening in the order that they appear in Karen Allen's missing address book. Well, our three heroes not only DON'T bother to look to see who is next on the list to be slaughtered, but guess where the mother hides the son in the next scene? You guessed it, with THE SAME person who is next on the list, as we find out 5 minutes later. I was screaming, YOU STUPID IDIOT!! All you had to do was look on the stupid list and avoid that person like the plague! By the way, the scene with the trigger happy police sure would spell L-A-W-S-U-I-T. The acting is not bad, especially the guy who played the computer hacker extraordinare, Chris Mulkey I think is his name, anyways, he's in a few B-Movies and his acting is surprisingly good. And I have to admit, the kid is actually a competent, believable and effective child actor for this movie, and that is saying a lot since most child actors overact or can't act at all. Karen Allen, what happened to you? You were the hottie with an attitude in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Boone's girlfriend who slept with the english teacher in Animal House. Her acting is pretty bad, and apparently, age did not favor her too well. She just doesn't show any emotion or shock when people or pets in her life suddenly start dropping like flies. And as I said earlier, the guy who plays the serial killer, for the 15 minutes that he is actually on screen in the beginning, he is really chilling to watch. I was wishing throughout the whole movie that they would have just made this movie into a film about the address book killer, in the flesh, without the 'techno thriller/killer comes back from the dead' aspect. Like I said, the opening scene with the dead family is disturbingly creepy, as well as when you see the killer in the store, licking his fingers which are caked with what appears to be dried blood. As for the special effects, aside from the quite well-done scenes of the killer traveling through the wires and going through people's systems, the effects are horribly bad in most areas, especially the end. The end is the worst part of this film. No entertainment value at all. The special effects are just gruesome looking at the end...enough said. All in all, not a bad movie. If you end up watching this, you will probably be like me in saying that it starts off great, but then gradually begins to suck. This movie, though, as you can tell, was really on the money with the technology at the time, which, in some small ways (and I mean in very basic ways) is up to date. Being an Information Systems major, it was amusing to see how far we've come in ten years and then some. I liked the technical aspect, but as for the horror aspect, the movie falls flat on its face 20 minutes into the film. Basically, once the killer goes into 'the machine', the movie dilapidates into eventually, a sorry excuse for an ending I've seen in a long time. But still, not a bad time waster overall. I'd love to give this one 7 stars for being a slightly better than average movie, but I just can't, it wouldn't seem right to the other 7's I've given over the years, LOL. Because it has very few redeeming qualities, or scares for that matter, despite an interesting premise, occasional moments of great (though, few and far between) filmmaking and a great beginning, this one gets 6/10 stars. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it

Reviewed by Doylenf 6 / 10 / 10

Serial Killer's Soul Invades Computer Mainframe...

I thought THE NET with Sandra Bullock was pretty over-the-top in the way her identity was so completely stolen, but it made a smashingly interesting thrill flick. However, THE NET was nothing compared to the overripe imagination of the screenwriter for THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE. Computer tekkies will love all the computer graphics involved here in showing how a serial killer, during an MRI power surge, gets his killer soul inserted into a network of computers so that he becomes the hacker from hell. KAREN ALLEN is his main victim, since he was an employee in a store where she was looking for a computerized address book. He has designs on her the moment he sees her with her young son (WIL HORNEFF). But she's not the only victim he seeks from her address book. Several others meet their imaginative deaths because of his stalking them through his computer wizardry (in most improbable and highly unlikely ways). But logic is the ingredient missing from the entire concept of this horror story that has fun devising various gruesome deaths for at least four or five people. CHRIS MULKEY is good as a computer wizard who helps her combat and ultimately destroy the virus which takes human form in the shape of graphic bits. Not really as bad as it sounds but all the graphics become a bit tiresome after awhile. I thought one of the best scenes had the automatic awning on the swimming pool covering almost the entire pool in ominous fashion, until the boy decides to swim underneath it to adjust the controls. That bit of natural horror was scarier than some of the computer graphic nonsense. Summing up: Not bad as these sort of things go. Holds the attention but demands complete suspension of logic.

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