September 23, 2019  (Web Review)

Ghost Light

Giant Interactive, 101 min., not rated, DVD: $22.95

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

In theatrical folklore, a ghost light is placed center stage for safety (so that no one trips and/or falls into the orchestra pit) when a theater is empty and would otherwise be completely dark. That beacon is the first thing a summer stock troupe of Shakespearean players sees when they arrive at rustic Riverside Lodge in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains, where an old barn has been converted into a theater. The thespians are about to mount a production of Macbeth but, as the director (Roger Bart) explains, superstition dictates that no one may utter the play’s name while rehearsing in the theater, so they use the euphemism “The Scottish Play.” Which doesn’t prevent a jealous understudy (Tom Riley) from impetuously yelling “Macbeth” over and over again. Despite being chastised and performing the ritual of leaving the building and requesting to be allowed back in, a curse has been unleashed. Soon after, an Appalachian Trail hiker named Juliet (Danielle Campbell) arrives, and since the company is minus one Witch, they invite her to join, much to the dismay of the First Witch (Carol Kane) and the latter’s husband (Steve Tom). Things then go badly not only for the resentful understudy but also his adulterous lover (Shannyn Sossamon), who plays Lady Macbeth, and her cuckolded husband (Cary Elwes), the vain leading man whose primary claim-to-fame is that, years ago, he was considered for a supporting part in the movie Top Gun. Director John Stimpson’s horror-comedy is, unfortunately, neither funny nor suspenseful, and takes far too long to reach its predictably spooky conclusion. Optional. (S. Granger)