Ghostriders (1987) Review
100 years ago, a band of outlaws were put to the death by a Reverend out for justice. In the present day, the descendants of that Reverend and the mob that lynched the outlaws are living normal, peaceful lives in a small town. However, the ghosts of the outlaws feel this is the time to return and begin stalking a small group of friends through the local woods. Can these demonic bandits be stopped? And who will survive to tell the tale?
NEVER before in my whole experience in film-watching have I been THIS insulted by a movie. Sorry to just come right out with my opinion, but I HATE this movie with every inch of my heart. Before this, I always believed that Backwoods was the worst movie of the glorious ‘80s. Then this came along like a homing missile filled with excrement and aimed right at my head. And it hit me. Hard. To me, the perfect genre-blender is one you can show to fans of one genre and they love it, then show to fans of the other genre and they love it too. Ghostriders fails miserably as a Western, and fails even more miserably as a horror movie.
First off, it’s not a badly made movie. The acting is all at least competent and the camerawork is alright, but everything else…forget it. The main problem with Ghostriders is that it is BORING. The movie is excruciatingly dull, filled with zero-suspense, zero-gore, zero-thrills, zero-EVERYTHING. The biggest problem is them setting it completely in the woods. Maybe if the “ghost riders” had invaded the actual small town, I wouldn’t be ranting on about this. But no. The entire film is comprised of the main characters (who are all flat, uninteresting, and unlikable) running around the woods, with the occasional shoot-out.
Looking for an action movie? Here’s what you get as far as action goes: the ghost riders fire at them. They hide behind a tree and fire back. The ghost riders fire back. The people fire back. They hit a ghost rider. The ghost riders fire back. The people fire back. The people run away. That is literally all you’re getting. Over. And over. And over. Like I said, there’s no suspense, the characters might as well have been cardboard standees, and there’s ONE, count ‘em, ONE explosion. And it’s a relatively small one.
Looking for a horror movie? Forget that, too! Maybe if the ghost riders’ faces were all decayed, I could give this film some points for cool antagonists. Nope! Not here! They’re just people with beards. There’s no gore at all (we see a little bit of the red stuff when people get shot, though), the deaths are all the same and uninteresting, and did I mention there’s no suspense to be found anywhere? Oh, and you must be thinking, “Well, I’ll bet this has a great climax!” No. It doesn’t. I won’t spoil it, but one character rigs up a booby trap that sounds like it’s going to be AMAZING, and then it doesn’t work. Then I was thinking, “It’ll work at the last second!” It doesn’t, and just to add onto THAT insult, the way it does end is predictable and horrible. Of course, what did I expect?
Ghostriders isn’t just a bad movie. It’s a bad movie that spits in your face and shoots your puppy. It frustrates you to no end and constantly taunts you with something better, then backs out at the last moment. In the end, I don’t know who the target audience for this is at all, and I don’t think the movie knows either. It throws (no, make that “lightly under-hands”) stuff at the wall and sees what sticks, and in the end, nothing does. It has the potential to be an action-packed thrill ride, a scary, suspenseful movie, or at least a “so-bad-it’s-good” adventure, and doesn’t do any of those, instead choosing to walk safely down the middle line of blandness. Thankfully, this one’s never been released on DVD and resides in well-deserved limbo on VHS. Let’s hope no one digs this one up.
The Verdict: Ghostriders is a beyond-boring, listless task that will make you want to throw yourself out a window (I’m not joking; while watching it, I really did feel like jumping out a window because that’s at least exciting). Avoid at all costs.
Score: 2/10 (because it’s at least competently made).