Review: ‘Ghost Team One’ deserves to disappear

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The scariest thing about “Ghost Team One” is the horror-comedy’s blatant racial minstrelsy. Possessed by the spirit of an Asian prostitute, a white man (Tony Cavalero) in geisha makeup and a kimono-like bathrobe prances around a bed, giggling behind a paper fan, insisting she’s too young to have sex (because she’s 6). Oh, and she makes pho, because co-directors Ben Peyser and Scott Rutherford are apparently unaware that Japan and Vietnam are 4,000 miles apart.

Needless to say, puerile tastelessness is the raison d’être — and entire appeal — of “Ghost Team One.” A search by two roommates (Carlos Santos and J.R. Villarreal) for evidence of a spirit world leads to familiar found-footage territory, but few frights. The inclusion of a foxy but unhinged moron (Fernanda Romero) on Ghost Team One yields one amusing “Y Tu Mamá También” joke — the film’s only moment of hilarity. But when the sexual competition she unwittingly incites between the two male friends dissipates, so does any real character development.

The quiet fact that the three main characters are Latino allows the film to subtly assert the variety and normalcy of Latino life, just as the Harold and Kumar movies did for Asian American existence. It’s frustrating, then, that the filmmakers could only think to enrich the characters of one race by demeaning those of another.



“Ghost Team One”

MPAA rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, some drug use and violence

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena. Also available on VOD