Monday, January 23, 2023

The Ghosts of Monday, Horror in Cypress

Timing can be ironic and unfair. It probably sounded like a good idea to release this film on a Monday, but it comes out while its co-star, Julian Sands has gone missing in the San Gabriel mountains. Everyone hopes for a happy resolution of the ongoing search. That makes this review a little awkward, but at least it gives us a chance to acknowledge Sands deserves more credit as a horror icon (Warlock, Argento’s Phantom of the Opera, Gothic, etc.). He is definitely the best thing going in Francesco Cinquemani’s The Ghosts of Monday, which releases today on VOD and DVD.

The basic premise is pretty familiar: a camera crew comes to shoot a reality show pilot in a Cypriot resort hotel reputed to be haunted. In this case, the Grand Hotel Gula really is creepy. It has been closed since a mass poisoning was committed there decades ago, on New Year’s Eve (a Monday, in fact). However, the new owners plan to renovate and re-open, with the help of the show’s publicity. To make things creepier, the hotel was built atop an ancient site, where human sacrifices were offered to the local deity, so even the soil is soaked in bad mojo.

For some reason, Sofia feels like she has been there before—in a bad way. She has come to the shoot to support, her ex-husband Eric and the host, her famed-celebrity father, Bruce MacPherson. Immediately, Bruce can tell there is something wrong with the owners, Frank and Rosemary, who never, ever leave the hotel. Much to his regret, the crew is stuck there to, staying on the only refurbished floor.

Of course, there is something sinister afoot, but Cinquemani does a nice job maintaining some sense of mystery during the first forty-five minutes or so. The setting is hugely creepy and the backstory pushes all kinds of horror buttons. The ending is a bit ridiculous, but it works pretty well up to that point.

Clearly, Sands is the film’s ace-in-the-hole. He is terrific as the charming but slightly debauched MacPherson. You could even go so far as to say his performance has a Vincent Price kind of vibe. Nobody else is quite up to his level, but Anthony Skordi is also ominously watchable as Frank, the owner.

Admittedly, Cinquemani does not reinvent the wheel with
Monday, but he maintains the atmosphere and tension rather skillfully. The cast is also solid, especially the wickedly entertaining Sands. Recommended for regular horror audiences and fans of Sands, the over-achieving The Ghost of Monday releases today (1/23) on VOD and DVD/BluRay.