Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lady in White

It's 1962 in your typical idyllic American town, and little Frankie gets locked in the coat room at his elementary school as part of a mean prank. That's scary enough for a little kid, but it gets worse. First he is visited by the ghost of a murdered little girl, whose murder is reenacted in front of him. Next, the killer shows up in person, looking to dispose of some crucial evidence. Frankie barely escapes with his life, but continues the be haunted by the little girl, whose murder remains unsolved, so he sets about to play detective and see if he can help find the wandering soul some peace.

The idealized small town setting, the mixture of the supernatural and the everyday, and especially the framing device of a horror novelist recounting his youth all suggest to me that Lady in White writer/director Frank LaLoggia is a big Stephen King fan. Hell, if you had told me this was based on one of King's novels I would have accepted it without question, it's the most Stephen King-y story Stephen King never wrote.

I don't mean that as a put down, Lady in White is very enjoyable, equal parts ghosts story and coming-of-age drama, told well and with humor. Again, like King, LaLoggia has an unfortunate knack for cramming too many subplots and sidetracks into his story, but regardless of that the film is an agreeable mix of old-fashioned ghost story and Americana nostalgia.

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