When you think about a Midnight Releasing, you don't necessarily think about films like Teenage Ghost Punk, a film that is definitely on the lighter, funnier and more family friendlier side of their usual cinematic fare. But, when I opened up the e-mail offering a chance to check out a screener of the 4/4/17 VOD/DVD release, I couldn't resist the chance to check out Midnight Releasing's tiptoeing into the more family friendly side of indie horror.
Teenage Ghost Punk gave me glimpses of that old Richard Benjamin starrer Saturday the 14th, an old school horror comedy that I happen to adore and still find myself laughing alongside every single time I watch it. While the storyline here is vastly different, the spirit is much the same. In this film, Amanda (newcomer Grace Madigan), her brother Adam (fellow newcomer Noah Kitsos), and their mother, Carol (Adria Dawn, Dorkumentary) move to a creaky old house outside Chicago where not long after they move in they begin experiencing strange occurrences. Before long, it's learned that their house is haunted - by the ghost of a punk rocker named Brian (Jack Cramer).
Winner of Best Emerging Director and Best Narrative Feature at the Geneva Film Festival on its festival journey, Teenage Ghost Punk is a low-key, entertaining family flick with hints of horror but an absolute abundance of humor and a high degree of sweetness that may be a bit surprising. As noted, Teenage Ghost Punk isn't like your usual Midnight Releasing film and, in this case, you can let go of ever expecting the actually punchline or shift in dynamics.
Teenage Ghost Punk is, in fact, a surprisingly sweet and funny indie horror rom-com of sorts. Really.
I know. I know. I'm still not sure I believe it.
The film's ensemble cast is uniformly strong here, though special kudos must be given to Grace Madigan for capturing the bewilderment of a cheerleader with a most unusual beau whose behaviors become increasingly off-kilter. Madigan's scenes with Cramer are both funny and endearing, while writer/director Mike Cramer has crafted natural, authentic dialogue and, in a rarity for low-budget indies, has even cast the smaller roles well.
Teenage Ghost Punk may not be the scariest or the funniest film you'll ever see, but it's an enjoyable view and a film that can be enjoyed with the entire family. In fact, that's what I think you should do right now. For more information on where to view the film, click on the film's official website linked to in the credits to the left of this review.
Seriously. Do it now. Don't be scared.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic