Whether it’s been in the guise of a translucent figure of human, a horrifying apparition of a creature or an unknown invisible force that makes things go bump in the night, there’s been a proliferation of ghost stories on the big screen over the years, and very few find a unique enough angle in the genre to break out of the pack.
The Sixth Sense is one of the very few to not only do that, but earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for M. Night Shyamalan and Best Supporting Actor for Haley Joel Osment. Another is Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s supernatural romance Ghost, and since then, nothing has taken that approach with any sort of blockbuster success.
Apparently Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck look to reintroduce the idea of everlasting love after death with A Ghost Story, albeit in much more basic way. Instead of a the eventual see-through figure of the dead lover a la Swayze in Ghost, the film is going with the most basic of basic ideas: a person wearing a white sheet with two black holes for eyes. It’s one of the many stunning images we get in the new trailer for A Ghost Story, an indie take on the genre that grabbed the attention of not only audiences at Sundance this year, but burgeoning studio A24 (Best Picture Oscar-winner Moonlight), which picked the film up for distribution.
There’s no need for spoiler alerts, as the trailer quite quickly establishes that Mara’s and Affleck’s characters are madly in love, and Affleck is the unfortunate soul removed somehow from the equation. His ghostly presence, in said white sheet, is all that remains, and it shadows Mara as she moves on with her life and presumably finds happiness with another.
Written and directed by David Lowrey, who helmed last summer’s remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story shows tremendous promise. Not only did he nab Manchester by the Sea star Affleck at the right time in his career (the moniker “Oscar winner” in the marketing materials of the film never hurts), the filmmaker has somebody equally as talented in Mara: the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Oscar nominee who’s destined for a Motion Picture Academy statuette herself.
Names aside, the footage in the trailer screams atmosphere, but in a subtle, Gothic sort of way. Whether there will be scares in the house Affleck haunts is yet to be seen, but as far as this trailer goes, a little supernatural presence in the film, set for a July release, goes a long way.