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Spirit - A Movie Review

The film has a good premise, and it’s a shame that it’s ignored.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 4 months ago 3 min read

This house is trying to warn me of something.

Spirit is a 2001 television film. After the death of her mother, a father and daughter move into a new home in New Orleans. Kelly notices strange things happening in the house. Convinced that a ghost is trying to reach her for help, Kelly helps the spirit find peace.

Films about ghosts always make enticing stories. Spirit spends too much time on the arguing between the father and daughter than the ghost story at play. The film has a good premise and it’s a shame that it’s ignored.

Spirit was an early film for Elisabeth Moss. She plays Kelly, a moody and brokenhearted teen coping with the loss of her mother. I wasn’t fond of her attitude, defying her father. For most of the film, I didn’t believe that Moss acted or emoted enough but it was still early into her career.

It wasn’t until Kelly broke down in tears that I realized Moss had this character figured out. At both times, Kelly wants help but doesn’t want to break her rebel teen mask.

Austin O’Brien plays the boy next door. Kelly and Cole often meet to discuss the house’s power, but there’s not much character development other than his ‘bad boy’ personality. They spend a lot of time walking around the neighborhood and in a graveyard.

Kelly and her dad (Greg Evigan) are constantly at war. They’re at each other's throats in every scene. Kelly refuses to let her dad in. Their spats take up the whole movie and we hardly spend enough time on the real story.

Spirit is a ghost story. A mysterious entity is trapped in the house. Instead of watching countless scenes of an old man walking by and holding his chest in pain, the story could have started sooner. This choice in pacing may have hindered the initial engagement of the audience, delaying the build-up of tension that is crucial in a gripping ghost tale.

It’s evident that Spirit is a made-for-TV movie based on its production quality and direction. Michael Slovis didn’t spend enough time on the film’s premise. It’s a light-hearted ghost thriller when you think about it. We don’t have many light-hearted films of the genre.

While it may not boast the cinematic grandeur of big-screen productions, it offers a touching and earnest storyline that explores the themes of redemption and second chances. Consequently, the initial setup of the haunting and the exploration of its backstory was somewhat rushed and lacked depth.

There was so much potential in the story and could have had a bigger impact on the overall supernatural elements. Spirit is reminiscent of other ghost stories that occupy similar themes. While the film hinted at a deeper exploration of the haunting's motivations, it fails to deliver the level of suspense that could have elevated its ghostly premise to a more memorable and chilling experience.

Spirit is confused about its overall tone. The comical moments in the film’s climatic felt out of place. Once Kelly’s dad finally realizes what is going on, first he searches for Cole to explain what’s happening. The two get on Cole’s small motorbike and drive all around town looking for Kelly. The humor didn’t make sense to the story’s tone.

The ending is my favorite part of Spirit. Spirit is not a tightly paced film but it has a reflective message. Learn to forgive. It’s better than holding grudges against people.

If you’re looking for a more lighthearted thriller, take a look at Spirit. While it is slow, it gets better by the end.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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  • Naveed 4 months ago

    Films about ghosts always make enticing stories. Spirit spends too much time on the arguing between the father and daughter than the ghost story at play."

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