Ghost Writer (DVD)

Ghost Writer (DVD)
Black comedy, bleak horror
Updated: 01-19-2009

Here's another straight-to-disc thriller with a misleading title and tagline. Based on the Thomas Gallagher play Suffering Man's Charity, Alan Cumming directs and stars as frustrated and flustered classical music tutor (those who can't do, teach) John Vandermark. He's a gay man whose sole joy in life is taking talented, artistic young men under wing (and hopefully, under the sheets). When we meet him, he's in the thick of his latest project — a novelist, this time — a built blonde brute named Sebastian St. Germaine (David Boreanaz).


Sebastian does nothing but sponge off John, even going so far as to bring his questionable conquests into the mansion they share (Karen Black steals the show and brings life to otherwise painfully dull proceedings as a drunken cougar). Finally meek milksop John gets fed up enough to confront John, and the results are catastrophic — perhaps even deadly — for one of them.


The synopsis on the back of the DVD suggests that a novel is telepathically transmitted from the beyond, sealing a sort of devil's bargain for the author… but that could not be further from the truth. Do not be misled: this is a stagy, mostly two-person in one-room dialogue driven black comedy. It might play fine on stage, but Ghost Writer has no business in any horror fan's disc player.


That said, the heightened, over-the-top acting is fun in parts… Cumming plays his put-upon Mary-in-a-snit to perfection, and there are some well-played cameos by name actors such as Henry Thomas, Anne Heche, and Carrie Fisher. Plus, there's Boreanaz in lingerie. You don't see that every day. (Well, at least I hope not.)


Horror and thriller fans need not bother, but if you love bickery homosexual British stage plays, you've hit the jackpot.


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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson

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