Thanks to the Paranormal Activity franchise, ghost story popularity in films is at a nice high. There have been some great ghost stories in the same found footage style as well as traditional narrative style in the past couple of years including Grave Encounters, The Woman in Black, Insidious and others. Anchor Bay has their own offering for the sub-genre with The Speak.
Shelley (Steven Nelson) is a filmmaker that wants to film a documentary about the haunted Don Park Hotel. Along with his girlfriend, his partner, and a sound crew, they convince the owner of the building, Doyle (Tom Sizemore), to let them spend the night in the hotel to try and capture any paranormal activity that might be there. Shelley has also enlisted the services of a Native American Tina Casciani, who Shelley wants to perform an ancient ritual to try and conjure The Speak, which may enable the spirits in the hotel to communicate with them. But the team is in for more than they bargained for when the spirits decide to communicate in their own way, and the message may be much more grim than they were expecting.
The Speak surprised me in that it had much more going for it than your average found footage ghost story. The entire cast was better than average, with Steven Nelson and Brett Donowho (who also co-wrote the film) standing out in particular. The turns of events in the film feel original and the pace is steady and deliberate. The atmosphere of the old hotel is creepy and the fear factor is palpable. I think it must have been filmed in an actual abandoned hotel, as it did feel very authentic. The film does follow some typical story plot points, but also has a fair share of unpredictable turns weaved into the standard storyline. I found myself very engrossed in the film and wanting to find out what was going on just as much as the characters on screen. The film may not be totally original or something you have not seen before, but it does take a familiar story and give it a fresh enough take to make it very entertaining with some above average acting and directing and great location for the setting. If you dig found footage, give The Speak a try, you will be pleasantly surprised. Recommended.