DIE SPOOK VAN UNIONDALE
DIRECTOR: Pierre Smith
CAST: Adam Tas, Ivan Zimmerman, Tanya van Graan, Tobie Cronje, Andre Stolz, Nelda Janse van Rensburg, Andre Schwartz, Christina Storm
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
MANY who travel along the Garden Route on their way to their coastal holiday destination might pass Uniondale and be familiar with the ghost stories attached to the town, especially affecting travellers.
There are probably many different versions, but the most common one is of a woman who stops drivers… and then the story spins off into different versions.
That’s the premise this movie is based on – a story about a woman who died and is still wandering about looking for her much-adored husband. Stefan (Tas) is a young businessman en route to his parents in Baviaanskloof. On the way his car breaks down near Uniondale, forcing a change of plan.
He makes it to Willowmore where he finds a garage willing to fix his car and a hotel to stay in while he waits to get mobile again.
Then strange things start to happen, or more aptly, go bump in the night. From the guy who is fixing the car to the bar where Stefan pops in periodically, nothing seems quite kosher and as the story unfolds – the characters reveal more about themselves even if poor Stefan seems oblivious.
Perhaps he is too entangled emotionally with a young girl, Sonja (Janse van Rensburg), who takes him under her wing.
The film is a bit all over the place with the ghost story meandering off in different directions and the romance swirling in-between. As the PG rating indicates, this is a family tale, but perhaps had a different route been taken with more focus on the horror rather than the folksiness of the tale, it could have been a different film.
It feels as if there is more than one story being told. But what could have been ghoulish and chilling becomes as far-fetched as the romance between the ghostly couple and in a parallel world – Stefan bumping into Sonja, taking the story in yet another direction.
It has to play into the acting as well, as different strands demand different styles. There’s the romantic real-life couple, also the ghostly romantics, and the small-town barman who is kind of other- worldly, and, to top all that, the ghost who hops, skips and jumps his way through the world.
It’s all a bit much to gather together and wrap into one package. Trying to give all things to all people never works and it doesn’t here either – sadly. There is potential, but the story seriously needed some spooky twists in the tale.
If you liked Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux or Paljas you might like this one.