A military special ops team (the DVD cover says U.S., but that's not the impression I got) that trains with a high-tech virtual reality program and corresponding equipment decides to have a fun gaming weekend with the gear in an old, empty prison. As it turns out though, the prison holds the ghost of a female terrorist who was tortured to death, and she is determined to kill anyone she encounters. Being a ghost, she is helpless to do so, until the virtual reality machine gives her the power. Like Freddy Krueger, she is able to harm the soldiers in their dreamlike state, and ulterior motives of the game developer only make matters worse as the team fights for its lives and tries figure out how to get back to the real world.
"Ghost Machine", a 2009 sci-fi/horror flick directed by Chris Hartwill, is a pretty decent film for its kind. It's better than what you would normally see on Sci-Fi channel, but not big screen quality. The effects are good enough, the story is interesting, the characters and acting is all fair. It's nothing exceptional these days, but it keeps you interested if it's the type of story you like. I'm not big on military stuff, but this was more about virtual reality getting out of control. Their aren't many characters and they are different enough not to get confused, which is good in a horror film focusing on soldiers. The tech-guy who created the game (played by Sean Faris), incidentally, comes off totally as a Tom Cruise character, in my opinion, looking and acting more and more like him as the film progressed (the character is even named Tom!). It seems a conscious choice by the filmmakers, but who knows. It's kinda funny though. I didn't find the ghost all that horrifying/ghostly, but I guess I'd use the word "acceptable". However, the one thing that really bugged me about this film was the ending. It was one of those films that doesn't give you a definite ending, and that annoys me. I guess it could have been worse, but still, that tactic has been way overdone already. In this particular case, it was an interesting ending, but still an unsatisfying cliffhanger.
The DVD holds an interview with the writer, a behind the scenes featurette, and the film trailer. It's a nice little selection of good supplements. Of course, there could have been a lot more, commentary at least, but that would have just held up my review even longer and it's not like this film is a classic or blockbuster or something. My recommendation is to get this one only if you are really into the subject matter or one of the stars (Rachael Taylor of Transformers and Luke Ford of Mummy 3 also play big roles). You could do worse for sure, but be prepared for one of those aggravating endings that leaves you hanging.