Paulo Leite’s ‘Inner Ghosts’ (2019) Is A Truly Original Ghost Story

“If ghosts are real and haunt a specific location, then they must have some memory of who they are.”

In the new film, Inner Ghosts, which was written and directed by Paulo Leite (Desencontros TV series), we meet Helen (Celia Williams: The Hunchback 2016), a gifted medium who lost both her daughter and her powers 15 years ago. She now studies the brain and believes that the self is stored in an area called The Nowhere Land, a magnetic imprint stored as an energy network in the body. Helen also has the radical theory that this area can still be accessed even if the brain is damaged by accident, age, or disease like Alzheimer’s. She’s met with some skepticism by her research department head, Steinman (Norman MacCallum: The Secret Agent 2015), but decides to carry on.


A woman who gave up on her life as a medium receives a gift from the afterlife: a device that can perform wonderful things – at a price.

Later, Helen meets with her terminally ill friend, Moira (newcomer Amanda Booth), who has decided to let herself die. She asks Helen to be at her side at her death while begging her to continue her work as a medium. She bequeaths Helen an apartment that is full of spirits, so the ex-medium decides to use them for her research. She and her assistant, Rachel (Iris Cayatte: Offline 2016), later meet a girl named Elsa (Elizabeth Bochmann: The Hunchback 2016) who is being violently attacked by an entity. Though not thrilled at the prospect, Helen reluctantly agrees to help her, an effort that takes her back to her new lab. They discover a way to build a device to communicate further with the spirits, and decide to try it out. When Steinman suddenly barges in, their experiment takes a shocking new turn.

The originality of the story line blew my mind. I found myself absolutely riveted and never bored for a moment. The acting in Inner Ghosts is hit or miss. It’s anchored by the impeccable performance of Celia Williams as Helen. Her calm and self-assured presence holds the entire film together. Less successful is the overacting of Norman MacCallum as evil villain Steinman.

The practical effects are really incredible, not just in terms of gore but also in the wow factor. There is real creativity behind some of the ideas here. There’s an incredible scene where a creature rises up out of seemingly nothing only to have a human crawl out of it. There’s spectacular makeup and effects work in Inner Ghosts.

It’s also a beautifully shot film. The flashbacks are transposed over present day scenes, creating a dreamy, eerie feeling. Because a great majority of Inner Ghosts is shot in darkness, the use of light becomes important, and it is used beautifully for the most part.

I do have a few minor problems with Inner Ghosts though. Does no one ever turn on a light when they are in their apartment or studio? Seriously, that’s the first thing I do when I get home, but everyone in this film just hangs out in the dark like it’s normal. I feel like if you can afford a 3D printer, you can afford decent overhead lighting. Also, there is a long, important scene at the end with a flashing strobe light that that goes on for far too long in my opinion. I actually had to look away, despite the fact that there were important things happening on screen. So, if you suffer from migraines or seizures, you have been warned.

Pre-order Inner Ghosts right here!

Overall, an original story line, incredible practical effects, and Celia Williams’ great performance raise this film up and above the usual paranormal fare. I fully recommend Inner Ghosts.

About Christine Burnham

When not writing, Christine Burnham is watching TV, Horror films, reading, cooking, and spending time with her menagerie of animals.

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