A small film crew of ghost hunters travel to the Grand Hotel Gula, a magnificent resort that accommodated tourists from all over the world, to document the hotel’s horrible past on a rare 53rd Monday of a year when the hotel befell into notorious tragedy as guests attending a party were poisoned and the three owners had committed suicide soon after. Eric, the director of the show, is on his last leg to make the show a success as he becomes pressured by local benefactors and even the show’s host personality, Bruce. At the request of Bruce, Eric brings his wife Christine who Bruce raised as a child. From day one, the empty stunning foyer and luxurious accommodates pale against the ambient creepiness of the dark corridors and basements and the ominous sounds that lurk from within the shadows. When the shooting commences into an investigation, the unsuspecting filmmakers find themselves in an ill-boding situation with an ancient evil that has been kept hidden away from the world for eons.
I want to prelude this review by saying that my thoughts are with Julian Sands family and if there is any hope left to grasp onto, we want sincerely to yearn for the outcome of Julian Sands disappearance in the hiking region of Mount Baldy, California to be a positive one and see the actor, the husband, the father of three alive and well. As an entertainer, Sands gave us a malevolent sorcerer in the “Warlock” trilogy and providing us with notable performances in David Lynch’s “Naked Lunch” and the fear of spiders-inducing “Arachnophobia.” Since the turn of the century, Sands has more-or-less fell out of the limelight with sustaining his presence mostly on direct-to-video releases and appearances on TV series. The British actor’s latest low-budget horror “The Ghosts of Monday” is a film helmed by Italian director Francesco Cinquemani on the little-known getaway island of Cyprus, a country located in the Mediterranean Sea. Cinquemani, who typically directs his own scripts, co-writes the film with Andy Edwards (“Zombie Spring Breakers,” “Midnight Peepshow”), Mark Thompson-Ashworth (“POE 4: The Black Cat”), and Barry Keating (Killer Mermaid,” “Nightworld: Door of Hell”). “The Ghosts of Monday” appears to be a blend of region myth and cultural belief pulled locally and from the stories of Greeks Gods into one abandoned hotel horror full of cult sacrifice and betrayal, produced by the “S.O.S.: Survive or Sacrifice” producing team of Loris Curci (“The Quantum Devil”), Marianna Rosset, and Vitaly Rosset under the Cyprus production company, Altadium Group.
Julian Sands might not be the principal lead of the story but is a major player in what culminates into an ambuscade of doomsday deliverance at the expense of others. As the documentary’s host and a Cyprus local, Sands plays the eccentric, often frisky, heavy drinker Bruce who has been a father, or the adopted father-figure as it’s not entirely clear, to Sofia (Marianna Rosset, “S.O.S.: Survive or Sacrifice”). Christine is distant and disordered returning to her Cyprus homeland with her husband Eric, the director, played by “The Turning’s” Mark Huberman. Almost seemingly estranged from each other, Eric and Sofia display some noticeable pensive and tension-riddled issues between them that the story never fully fleshes out for the audience. Christine is under medication for a sleep disorder, Eric’s feeling the pressure from powerful producers, and none of that external strain has defined or even as much delineated itself in full in their aloof relationship that has glimmers of hope and smiles as the wall between them is more up than it is down despite Eric’s constant vigil over her. Performances from Rosset and Huberman meet the need of concern, desperation, and pressure forced upon them more from in the outside than in, especially in Huberman with a slightly better angle on his creative-driven, project-lead sudden derailed from his narrow focus to deliver a quality product as his career careens out of control and that brings out his rougher edge we see in the latter half of the story. In comparison, the more iconic and recognizable figure, Julian Sands, doesn’t land his role well in what could be seen as if his performance landing gear only had one wheel down before touching pavement but was able to jerry-rig a not-big-enough wheel to get him safely through. “The Ghost of Monday” has some mysteriously odd and menacing individuals in hotel owner Frank (Anthony Skordi, “Carnal Sins”), his wife Rosemary (Maria Ioannou, “Waiting Room”), and the producer couple Dom (Loris Curci), and Pat (Joanna Fyllidou, “Girls After Dark”) as hovers, prowlers, and the overall conventional creeps in the corner, watching you. On the other side of the coin, you have a film crew who are more or less victim fodder for the evil powers to be with Anna (Kristina Godunova) and suspected lesbian lovers in sound designer Christine (Elva Trill, “Jurassic World: Dominion) and cinematographer Jennifer (Flavia Watson) because A/V is just another acronym for LGTBQ+. With the exception of Frank and Rosemary’s background on why they bought the forsaken hotel, none of the other characters constitute a piece of the pie as they are thrown into the mix, sprinkled with tidbits of intrigue, before their dispatched into the feast or famine categories.
We have ghosts in the title. There are cult members, sometimes shrouded in obscuring clothing, sometimes just lingering exposed outright. We have silent but deadly twin girls with kitchen knives. There is also a slithering creature lurking in the basement. “The Ghost of Monday” is a variety show of vile villains with very little coherence to bring the elements together, but what is clear is a mythical being at the center of the surrounding maelstrom that’s quickly closing in on the protagonists. With the script penned by a cohort of writers experienced in resort massacres and killer aquatic creatures, all director Cinquemani has to accomplish is the effectuation of ideas, but what results is haphazard derision from what feels like “Ghostship” in a hotel and looks like “The Shinning” without the isolating madness all in the confines of a very shaky and marred cinematography. The core of the story is inadvertently lost amongst the competition of where audiences should retain their attention which is a shame because at the core is a deeper, broader, and more mythically rich in Grecian horror with a gorgon immortal that’s equated as the devil itself and linked to life’s destruction if not sacrificed a corporeal shell. Viewers will be treated to only a glimpse of that circling terror during the climatic end and, more than likely, budgetary reasons ground the story’s larger-than-life concept with only a mixed bag clash of content leading up to the end.
Plugged as Cyprus’s first native horror production, “The Ghosts of Monday” arrives onto a Blu-ray home video release from the Cleopatra Entertainment, film division of Cleopatra Records, and Jinga Films with MVD Visual distributing. The featured release is presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, shot on what IMDB has listed as the Sony CineAlta Vince with a Zeiss Supreme Prime Lens. The AVC encoded Blu-ray retains a quite a bit of compression issues throughout the entire digitally recorded package as video ghosting is the biggest image culprit. I’m sure that type of ghost was not what “The Ghosts of Monday” were referring to in the title. Aliasing, banding, and small instances of blocking also appear occasionally and in conjunction with the ghosting which makes this transferred format nearly impossible to watch with hardly any detail in what should be a high-definition release that renders closer to 480 or 720p as the video decodes at a low 22 to 23Mbps average. The Blu-ray has two audio options, an English 5.1 Dolby Digital and a LPCM Stereo 2.0. Though both outputs render nearly identical because of the lack of explosions or an extensive ambient track, the surround sound mix offers a better side to the A/V attributes with a barren-disturbance sound design and a solid score that keeps the concerned glued to the television sets, waiting for something spooky to pop out from behind. Dialogue doesn’t perceive with any issues with clear and clean conversation, as expected with most digital recordings, and is greatly centered and balanced without sounding echoey and out of depth’s scope. The bonus features are scantily applied with only an image slideshow and feature trailer, plus trailers from other Cleopatra Entertainment productions, such as “The Long Dark Trail,” “Frost,” “A Taste of Blood,” “Baphomet,” “Scavenger,” “The Hex,” and “Skin Walker.” The physical attributes of the release come with a traditional Blu-ray snapper cast with latch and cover art, that’s slightly misleading, of a glowing apparition. The region free release has a runtime of 78 minutes and is unrated. “The Ghosts of Monday” doesn’t buck the trend for Cleopatra Entertainment’s string of C-grade horror but is an unusual, new venture in the sense of strictly being a horror story without an eclectic soundtrack of signed artists to carry it through to the end.