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Originally published Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

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‘Ghost Team One’: Parody scares up a few laughs

A movie review of “Ghost Team One,” a lowbrow, micro-budget comedy for the drunken frat-boy crowd that sends up such “point-of-view” horror flicks as “Paranormal Activity.”


Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Ghost Team One,’ with Carlos Santos, J.R. Villarreal, Tony Cavalero, Fernanda Romero. Directed by Ben Peyser and Scott Rutherford, from a screenplay by Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli, Peyser and Rutherford. 82 minutes. Rated R for strong sexual content, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, some drug use and violence. Pacific Place.

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“Ghost Team One” operates on the level of a juvenile prank, but this lowbrow, micro-budget comedy earns a few laughs as it sends up such “point-of-view” horror flicks as “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity.”

The movie’s characters and target audience are essentially the same: hard-partying teens and college kids with raging hormones and questionable potential. Add beer, and “Ghost Team One” is destined to be a streaming-video hit with truant frat boys everywhere.

After hiring a videographer to capture alleged paranormal activity with a helmet-mounted camera, self-proclaimed “Ghost Team One” housemates Sergio (Carlos Santos) and Brad (J.R. Villarreal) throw a raucous party while their class-clown housemate Chuck (Tony Cavalero) struggles to maintain his hard-earned sobriety.

When sloppy-drunk Brad swears he saw a ghost, sexy partygoer and wannabe ghostbuster Fernanda (Fernanda Romero) sticks around to summon the ghost of Lady Azalea, a Japanese prostitute who committed double-homicide in the house decades earlier. They get a big surprise when the kimono-wearing spirit possesses Chuck’s body and starts wreaking bloody havoc.

If it were scarier, “Ghost Team One” might have been an energizing blend of comedy and adrenaline. If it were funnier, it might have matched the guilty pleasure of the “Harold & Kumar” comedies. Instead, this 82-minute tribute to immaturity takes a full, patience-testing hour to bring on the comedic mayhem. That’s when Cavalero (a lead member of the acclaimed comedy troupe The Groundlings) delivers a wacked-out performance that suggests he could’ve been a great replacement for Bill Hader on “Saturday Night Live.”

Nobody else matches Cavalero’s manic energy, and “Ghost Team One” suffers from a dreary, meandering lack of structure. To be fair, that may be intentional: As it stumbles around like a loud, obnoxious freshman, “Ghost Team One” has the dubious honor of being better than the “Hangover” sequels.



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