Pay the Ghost stars Nicolas Cage as Mike Lawford, a New York professor who one fateful Halloween, loses his son during a holiday festival. After searching for clues and separating from his wife, Mike uncovers secrets surrounding multiple disappearances of local children all taking place on Halloween night. He then must fight against an evil spirit to reclaim his son and save his family.
Director Uli Edel has a great knack for characterization and directing actors to deliver solid performances. In Pay the Ghost, Nicolas Cage’s performance as a father who is forced to fight a supernatural entity to save his kidnapped son is well developed and shows that the actor can still do good work without having to resort to high-energy antics or droll blandness.
The film takes place on Halloween and while Nicolas Cage is buying his son, played by Jack Fulton, a snowcone, he turns around and his boy is nowhere to be found. The story takes its time to show us the destruction of his family while he obsessively searches for his child. Once supernatural clues start to appear, bizarre events lead up to the moment when Nic Cage goes into a veritable netherealm to fight a demonic witch spirit to save his son and the other lost children.
Pay the Ghost suffers from some pretty awful CGI, and the pacing of the film can be very sluggish at times, but as a whole it is definitely far from unwatchable. A decent performance by Nicolas Cage and solid support by Sarah Wayne Callies playing the traumatized wife are strengths here. For a movie that plays off many familiar themes that we see in modern ghost stories, this one is far better than the majority of what is currently being produced. You could definitely do worse this Halloween.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars