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Josh Lucas, Terrence Howard and Lake Bell are haunted by the laughable 'Ghost of New Orleans'

Josh Lucas, Terrence Howard and Lake Bell are haunted by the laughable 'Ghost of New Orleans'
Lake Bell and Josh Lucas in the horror film "Ghost of New Orleans." (SP Releasing)

The type of vehicle that even Nicolas Cage likely would have passed on, "Ghost of New Orleans," by Serbian director Peter (Predrag) Atonijevic, is a laughably pretentious crime caper-supernatural thriller hybrid that comes up woefully lacking on both fronts.

Languishing on the shelf for the past six years and not screened in advance for critics (save for its 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival debut, when it was known as "Little Murder"), this lumbering heap of nonsense stars Josh Lucas as Ben Chaney, an alcoholic Big Easy detective haunted by ghosts from his past and immediate present.

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He's still dealing with nagging guilt over the accidental fatal shooting of an innocent young African American man when he's assigned to a stakeout across from the home of one Drag Hammerman (Terrence Howard), a foppish eccentric suspected of being a serial killer who adorns his victims in ornate death masks.

Turns out the empty house from which Ben is doing surveillance is inhabited by the helpful ghost of Corey Little (Lake Bell), a cellist who was ostensibly strangled by her brother but instructs Chaney to track down her actual killer.

While Lucas and Howard wildly under-inhabit and overplay their respective roles, the usually spirited Bell registers a deeply pained look of regret that likely has nothing to do with character choices.

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'Ghost of New Orleans'

Rating: R, for some violence and brief language.

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood; also on VOD

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