There’s nothing quite like a social media excursion into the realms of indie films and coming to discover an up-and-coming writer and director. To say this short is a great industry calling card is an understatement, as it’s won 83 film festival awards (IMDb list) across various disciplines.
And this homage that travels the dusty trails of the supernatural western that dates back to Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” is certainly deserving — and it reminds us of the old west-meets-the supernatural majesty of Eyes of Fire (1983), a film so majestic, that we reviewed it, not once (for our “Movies Never Released to DVD” feature), but twice (for “Satan Week”). Can we plug our obsession with all things Amityville (see our “Exploring: Amityville” feature) as well? If you know that cinematic franchise of sequels, prequels, and sidequels, they’re usually stitched together via the possession of inanimate objects (clocks, lamps, toys, clown dolls, shiny trinkets, etc.).
Ghost in the Gun is Chen’s second writing effort that also serves as his directing debut: a supernatural journey of revenge concerned with a man left for dead. Upon discovering a possessed gun, he transforms into a gunslinger hellbent to revenge his wife’s murder — but unbeknownst to him, the “gun” has its own, hellbent agenda.
What makes this Twilight Zone-inspired tale work — besides Chen’s skills at the Final Draft and Canon Reds — is the fact that it stars ubiquitous TV actor Tim Russ (as the Ghost in the Gun); yes, Tuvok from the Star Trek-verse. But since this is B&S About Movies, we have to mention Tim’s work in Dead Silence, and for the younger, Nickelodeon crowd, you’ll remember him as Principal Franklin on iCarly. And you’ll recognize Ross Turner from the Netflix teen drama 13 Reasons Why, here as the dastardly Sheriff Hicks. The film’s under-the-radar lead, Darren Bridgett, a veteran of various shorts and indie productions (his most visible support role was in 2013’s critical and award-winning favorite Fruitvale Station), carries the film with the class of a major studio, A-List actor.
Ghost in the Gun isn’t just some film school short . . . where our auteur ends up with a career slingin’ hash at Chili’s, pardner: the quality here is of a major studio-level film (that reminds of Brando Benetton’s college thesis project, Nightfire). So you’ll be seeing bigger films and bigger roles from both Andrew Chen and Darren Bridgett.
From the Sci-Fi Nerds Department: If you’re a Lucas-head or a Trekkie, you’ve experienced writer-director Andrew Chen’s pen before, with his 2016 screenwriting debut, Where No Jedi Has Gone Before (that’d I love to see expanded into a feature), concerned with a die-hard Star Wars fan meeting his girlfriend’s Trekkie-obsessed parents.
And we’d love to see Ghost in the Gun as a feature-length film. Yes, it’s that good. You can learn more about the film and keep abreast of its eventual streaming release on its official Facebook and Twitter pages.
Oh, and by the way . . . we love our western spaghetti ’round these ‘ere parts of Allegheny County, pardner. So much so that we loaded up the pasta pots with a “Spaghetti Westerns Week” that ran this past Sunday, August 16 to Saturday, August 22 — and our “Drive-In Friday” tribute to the Spaghetti Westerns of Klaus Kinski will get you started.
Disclaimer: We did not receive a review request from the director or a P.R firm. We discovered this film on our own and requested a screener. And we truly enjoyed the film.