Written by: Matt Patti | January 22nd, 2023
The Ghosts of Monday (Francesco Cinquemani) 1½ out of 4 stars.
The “Monday Blues” have affected all of us at some point. Many of us come off a fun or relaxing weekend only to be disappointed that we have to go back to work on Monday. Furthermore, many folks go into a week with high hopes and a positive outlook only to be let down when something frustrating happens to them on their first day back. Similar to the feeling of coming back to work after a fantastic weekend and getting aggravated is the feeling of viewing a film that disappoints. When deciding to watch any movie, a viewer has certain expectations and even some excitement leading up to it. However, when that film does not live up to expectations, it can be quite disheartening. Director Francesco Cinquemani’s horror film The Ghosts of Monday fits this description. Though it has a lot of potential, it squanders most of it.
The movie revolves around a U.S. paranormal-investigation crew that travels to Cyprus to shoot a documentary. The subject of their work is the infamous Hotel Gula, a resort where 100 people died mysteriously on a Monday night in the 1990s. The hotel is known for much paranormal activity due to the many spirits trapped there from the ‘90s incident. The director of this doc is middle-aged Eric (Mark Huberman, Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla series), and the star/host of the show is an older man named Bruce (Julian Sands, The Survivalist). They travel to the hotel with Eric’s crew, which includes his ex-lover Sofia (Marianna Rosset), who grew up in Cyprus. The hotel is no longer in operation; however, the owners allow Eric and his crew access in hopes that some publicity (specifically for those interested in the paranormal) will attract future guests. When the team first gets to work, they have a hard time picking up any strange activity around the premises. However, strange events eventually begin to occur, and the team soon realizes they’re in for more than they bargained for.
The Ghosts of Monday has all the ingredients to be a memorable, frightening horror film. It takes place in a grand hotel with an intriguing backstory on a remote island: a perfect location for a horror film. Unfortunately, though the spice cabinet is full, the filmmakers choose not to use all that is at their disposal. The film is technically well-made, for sure, at least when it comes to visuals. The cinematography is exceptional, with some impressive aerial and establishing shots of the island and the hotel. The shots are well orchestrated, too, as the filmmakers choose to use several overhead and point-of-view angles that imply that the characters are being watched. Sadly, though, the visuals are the highlight of the film, and the plot cannot match the quality of the cinematography.
The majority of the characters in this film come off as nameless faces with little specific attributes. Our central character, Eric, is devoid of any personality traits and therefore very uninteresting. It doesn’t help that Huberman’s dry performance leaves much to be desired, as well as his monotone line delivery. The other performances in the film are slightly better, but most characters are plain and not memorable at all. The one exception is Julian Sands’ character of Bruce. Sands gives far and away the best performance of the movie, and his character of Bruce is at least slightly layered and compelling. The filmmakers also try to make Sofia a vital character via a late revelation, but anyone with half a brain could see this reveal coming, and I personally identified this “twist” very early on.
Staying on the theme of twists, The Ghosts of Monday contains a handful of them. I enjoy a good twist every now and then, but this film doesn’t execute any of the reveals well at all. The film’s largest twist is overtly obvious thanks to many random, sudden cuts to a specific image throughout. Not only is this strange decision to constantly squeeze in the same image annoying, but it also completely ruins most of the surprise in the film’s final act. The other twists are largely predictable. Beyond this, the majority of the movie is empty, lacking substance, with very few suspenseful scenes and a very dull second act.
Overall, The Ghosts of Monday fails to capitalize on its perfect setting and stunning visuals. Instead, the filmmakers choose to try to subvert the audience’s expectations but do a lazy job of it. The environment calls for a specific type of horror film, yet this movie strays from that formula to poor results. Predictable, boring, and lacking any intensity or terror, The Ghosts of Monday can’t capture its own target audience. Viewers might want to take the first day of the work week off after watching this one.