The Ghosts of Monday

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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The Ghosts of Monday (2022, director: Francesco Cinquemani; cast: Julian Sands, Marianna Rosset, Mark Huberman, Elva Trill)





Sophia (Marianna Rosset) and Eric (Mark Huberman) are an estranged couple who reunite to produce a ghost hunters TV show. The target of their paranormal investigation is an abandoned hotel on the island nation of Cyprus. The hotel closed after a mass poisoning of guests over 30 years ago, but is currently being renovated. Naturally, the hotel is also rumored to be haunted.

Bruce (Julian Sands) is the show's "lead investigator." Really, he's an entertainer, mugging for the camera, feigning fright, and setting up fake scares. He also worked hard to get both Sophia and Eric hired for the show, because he wants to reunite them, not only as a production team, but as a couple.

But Bruce, like most characters in The Ghosts of Monday, has ulterior motives and is not who he seems.

Let's start with the positive. The Ghosts of Monday is not your boilerplate ghost hunter's horror film. It is not found footage (thank God!). Nor are there the usual green "night vision" shots. There's even an actual story, with many events occurring apart from the ghost hunt, during the day, and outside the hotel.

On the down side, The Ghosts of Monday is a blizzard of incoherence, its script credited to no less than five writers. From the title we expect ghosts, but we also get slashers, cultists, immortals, and at least one monster (or demon, dark deity, or whatever it's supposed to be).

The characters even cover multiple categories. It's as if every time a new writer came on board, he kept what was already established (okay, the guy's a ghost), but added his own vision (but a ghost who's also a slasher), and so on (but a ghost slasher who belongs to a demon cult), and so on (but a demon cult composed of immortals), and so on (but good immortal cultists who are protecting the world), and so on, (so the slashers kill the camera crew, so this dark deity can possess this woman, so she'll be immortal and never leave the hotel, because if she does ...).

The story's many "twists" and "sudden reveals" are doubtless meant to surprise and shock, but only confound and frustrate. With each new "revelation," the characters, their motivations, the entire story becomes ever more contradictory, pointless, and silly.



Yet if you set aside all logic, The Ghosts of Monday is pretty entertaining. The hotel has a spooky ambiance, even during the day. I suppose that's because it's so big and empty. There's something about vast spaces devoid of people.

The characters' lack of subtlety detracts from their believability, but makes them fun to watch. Eric is overly overwrought. I'll bet he grinds his teeth at night. Several of the minor characters might as well have "Sinister" written on their foreheads. Julian Sands is Shatner-like in his scenery chewing. And as in every good slasher film, there's much eye candy among the ladies. I mean a lot of eye candy.

Yes, The Ghosts of Monday is a slasher film. It might also be called a ghost hunter film, a monster film, and a demon film, but on top all that, it's also a slasher film.

The elevator scene is the crown jewel of the film's slashings. Christine (Elva Trill) dies just right. The acting isn't overdone or underdone. The right amount of screaming, mixed with the right amount of plaintive whimpers as her life ebbs away. The mise-en-scene is also effective. Christine bangs on the elevator's glass wall, while the people many floors below are oblivious to her plight.

Well directed and well staged!

The gore effects are near perfect. One cut along Christine's forehead struck me as a tad too wide, but I was impressed with the blood on the elevator's floor. A realistic amount (not overdone) and nicely spattered (rather than a single large pool dumped by a lazy fx person). The red shade and consistency was also appropriate. Not too dark, not too light.

You know you've seen too many slasher films when a slashing fails to shock, frighten, or offend, but merely entices you to analyze and compare it to a thousand other film slashings you've seen.



Some critics complain that the elevator was spotlessly clean of blood only a short time after the killing. True, but The Ghosts of Monday is a slasher film, and no horror subgenre has a prouder tradition of disregarding logical coherence.

Ghosts's entertaining incoherence reminds me of Terror. Director Norman J. Warren admitted to me that Terror is full of internal contradictions and unresolved plot points. He and screenwriter David McGillivray had simply compiled and shot a list of "cool scenes" they wanted to see in a horror film, paying little attention to logical connectivity.

The Ghosts of Monday is not as entertaining as Terror, but its scenes and elements have that same haphazard feeling. The difference is, Terror's haphazard lack of structure was intentional, whereas I suspect that Ghosts's incoherence is due largely to its many writers.

Some critics say that Ghosts draws from The Shining, Suspiria and Inferno. I see The Shining influence, less so Argento's. I suppose because Suspiria also has both witches and slashers (as does Terror; Warren acknowledges Suspiria as an influence). And like Inferno, Ghosts's hotel has a large pool of water at its basement floor. But whereas Argento is a master of fusing incongruent elements to create a surreal ambiance, supported by a kind of "dream logic," Ghosts's story is just a mess.


The Ghost of Monday is alleged to be the first feature length horror film shot on Cyprus. I don't know if it's true, but this factoid is heavily touted in its marketing. Certainly, the characters make much of it, reminding us several times that we're on Cyprus. And there's a scene on a boat.

That boat could be anywhere in the Mediterranean. There's nothing strikingly "Cypriot" about The Ghosts of Monday. But I'm sure Cyprus's travel bureau and film development office want you to know that the film was shot on Cyprus, so I'm making a special point of mentioning it.

The Ghosts of Monday is no masterpiece. Nor is it very original. Even so, it's not dull. Some spooky ambiance. Some gory scares. Julian Sands is hammy fun. And did I mention its many lovely ladies?

Directed by Francesco Cinquemani.


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