Every time a new movie starring Nicolas Cage arrives in cinemas, people question if it’s any good. Others automatically cast judgement on the movies as (terribly) bad. It’s sad to say most of the opinions are actually true, and here’s why: in recent years, Cage’s acting has been described as “overacted” or exaggerated, and that’s saying something for a former Best Actor. For his latest project “Pay The Ghost“, not only is his performance laughable, the plot is also immensely cliché.

Set in modern day New York, Pay The Ghost focuses its ghostly title on Halloween and some fictional history. Cage stars as university professor Mike Cole. On 31st October, Mike takes his son Charlie (Jack Fulton) to the streets for the annual Halloween parade. Charlie notices black eagles flying around, and one even appeared to make eye contact with him.

As Mike buys an ice cream for Charlie, the boy disappears, seemingly taken away. All hell breaks loose for Mike, and the plot to recover Charlie begins. Mike’s wife Annie Sawquin (Lauren Beatty) blames him for losing Charlie, and the NYPD tells him off for constantly hounding them for answers they’re unable to find. Left with no option, Mike decides to investigate the case on his own.

Directed by German filmmaker Uli Edel, the supernatural theme that this horror flick is supposed to represent makes it appropriate for Halloween. But when it comes to the fact that Cage stars in it, the film becomes an irony to the point that it’s actually amusing at times. Nonetheless, the plot is comfortably paced and easy to digest. The jump scares go as quickly as they come, so there isn’t much time to indulge in moments of intense fear.

The main issue with Pay The Ghost is its use of characters, or lack thereof. When Mike makes a discovery, any new characters brought to the screen are briefly introduced and never actually return. So we’re constantly left with only Cage’s face to look at for most of the film’s duration. What does go well is Cage’s convincing performance as Mike, a dad worried for his lost son. His anxious demeanour is the only thing that keeps the film going.

Long story short, Pay The Ghost is a feeble attempt at cashing in on the Halloween season. It’s definitely advised only for the faint-hearted, or if you happen to be a diehard fan of Nicolas Cage. Otherwise, there are other movies that are more worthy of your time.

Pay The Ghost opens in theatres today.

Directed by: Uli Edel
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Running time: 94 minutes
Rating: 1.5/5