But, the movie shines when it comes to the dynamics of the Gibbs family. Alex clearly loves his kids, and even when he is yelling at them or frustrated, that love is never in doubt. It all builds to a not unexpected but well-earned ending that says plenty about grief, guilt, and how people move on in their own time and way. It ends up as a rather wholesome if somber affair, and I do mean that in a positive way.
The screenwriters’ dialogue should also be commended. The sisters play and bicker like real siblings. Rachel overhears Hannah telling Alex about all the killings and unexplainable events that have occurred at this house over the years. When confronting her dad about it, Rachel says, “Yeah, dad, I know. You don’t believe in ghosts, God, or Santa Claus…you are always forcing your beliefs down other people’s throats.” The entire conversation is fraught with tension and lies the groundwork for some reveals later on in an organic way.
“…very frantic and intense.”
Harvey Lowry’s direction is quite good. He keeps the pace moving well, and once the eeriness truly sets in, the editing becomes quicker, slightly discombobulating, and absolutely works to put the audience in the shoes of the leads. After everyone in the Gibbs family has seen the ghost, the movie edits out small moves, in a pseudo-French New Wave way, as the camera jumps between Rachel, Sophie, and Jack’s rooms. It is all very frantic and intense.
Everyone in the cast does a capable job. Pynn and Kai share a natural chemistry and play off each other well, so they feel like sisters the entire runtime. Campbell is a sympathetic lead and sells Jack’s heartache believably, especially at the end of the film. Sorbo and Kresge also do excellent work in their relatively minor roles (Sorbo, I think, has less than 12 lines).
Without A Body tells a formulaic haunting tale. But, it is far more interested in the drama of the family then the ghosts tormenting them, and on that front, it works well. The directing is fine, the cast is quite good, and the way the ending deals with the movie’s themes is excellent. All in all, even if you are sick to death of ghost stories, there’s enough originality and talent here to warrant a watch.
"…far more interested in the drama of the family then the ghosts..."