American Ghost Hunter (2010)

Independent filmmaker Chad Calek comes fresh off of the set of the popular television series, Paranormal State, to introduce audiences to his own personal battle against the supernatural in AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER. Calek returns home to Persia, Iowa to confront the demons that terrorized his family decades earlier, only to find that his parents are still being plagued by bouts of possession. Any truth to this tale is squashed by the poor production and worse editing choices that are made by the director. The over-stylized imagery takes away from Calek's attempted realism, while the dull interviews are only paired with fruitless investigations that lack Paranormal State's unabashed sensationalism. Ryan Buell and Lorraine Warren join Calek on his quest to lend some credibility to the cast, although they are equally unable to add any interest to the ongoing events. AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER frequently loses focus as Calek proposes several unfinished ideas leading in to his family's haunting without ever fully exploring or concluding them. In reality, there is very little ghost hunting to be found anywhere within the film. Instead, AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER is more of a depressing family drama that allows audiences intimate access to areas that they ought not be welcome. For Calek, it is much more of a release after decades of repression, and a journey to find inner meaning. Those that are interested in the supernatural will find more entertainment in an episode of your average television program than in this overly-long and tiresome documentary.

Rating: 5/10.

Television Series like AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER:
Paranormal State, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures.

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27 comments:

  1. Thank you Carl for your well written/ said overview of this horribly done family home video. I wish I was only smarter 7 months and seeked out more information before purchasing this film. I feel we were misled into believing that this documentary was actually going to contain paranormal evidence or something to that extent. I was never a big fan of Chad ( I felt like he was a bully during Paranormal State), but I enjoyed the show and the cast. Boy was I wrong. Not only was this film horribly done and misleading, but when the said release date came many people who pre ordered did not receive their copy. After questioning where the dvd was, Chad lashed out at us and even blocked us off the FB account. To this day many people still have not received their dvd they purchased months ago, not that they're missing out on anything. Long story short the only reason I got to see the film was because of friend who received hers after filing a complaint with the BBB and FTC. Again, thank you for critique of this film, and I will be sure to pass it along so that other people wont get swindled out of their money. The truth needs to come out that these guys are crooks, and they give the paranormal community a bad reputation.

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    1. Carl and Desiree, I totally agree with your assessments. I finally received the DVD in December, after ordering it in June. I found it dull, poorly edited and the color timing horrible. Chad took advantage of his mother's mental illness and I found that in poor taste. Why Lorraine Warren was dragged into this monstrosity, I don't know. They certainly have major dysfunction in their family and nothing paranormal, as far as I could ascertain. Waste of time and money.

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    2. "These guys are crooks, and they give the paranormal community a bad reputation." How do you figure? You received the video. If the experience waiting for it soured your ability to enjoy it, you have made that clear. However, no one has swindled or stolen anything from anyone.

      Let's make that last point clear.

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    3. There are still many who have NOT received their DVD. In effect, their money was stolen.

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    4. Dear Anonymous #1,
      How do you figure I received the dvd? In fact I have not. I only got to see this horrible, deceptive, and amateur home video through a colleague to which I wasted two hours of my life that I cannot get back. Waiting, or should I clarify, not getting the dvd did not sour my ability to enjoy it, because I really did want to see it. However, I got Chad's dysfunctional family home video and was horrified that they ensued that his mother was possessed rather than seeking professional help like a PSYCHIATRIST. To answer your question regarding how they are crooks ( other than taking people's money without delivery of a product), and how they give the paranormal community a bad rep, well, Chad Calek's documentary made the paranormal scene look like a circus and confirms skeptics beliefs how ghosts don't exist. Basically, he made the paranormal community look like a bunch of asses who just want to make a quick buck off of loyal fans and believers. I can't even enjoy anymore of the ghost shows on t.v. at this point thanks to Chad Calek and Ryan Buell. Good job fellas!

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  2. I agree with you Desiree. I pre-ordered this DVD package through PayPal on June 12, 2013. I have not received it as of this date. Reading the advertisment for the DVD, I was mislead into believing that this was a documentary about Ryan Buell and his experiences. "That being said", (a Chadism) from what has gone on and everything I have learned about Chad Calek, I don't care if I get it, nor do I care to watch it other than to formulate my own critique and just out of curiosity. I don't even care if I get a refund. My only intent in this matter now is to try to make sure that people have this information and stop this man from his deceitful, conniving and thieving practices.

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    1. I totally agree with you all. It was a great disappointment especially when pre-ordered in August and to only receive in December to be totally let down. if I wanted a family film I would have purchased one not saying it is tragic what Chad's family went through but this was not what I signed on for Paranormal is what i signed on for not family heart ache. I wish I could get my money back cause this sure was not what I agreed to pay for. I am really disappointed in Ryan and Chad for this HUGE DECEIT!!!!!!!

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  3. I liked the movie quite a bit! It is one of the few -- perhaps the only film -- where the person experiencing that haunting told their point of view without interference from a mainstream production company.

    I understand that some purchasers of the video became rather wound up by delays in receiving it. Apparently, those delays have affected their perception of the film. However, I would give the film an 8 or 9 out of 10.

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    1. I would still give it 1/2 star or less. My perception has not been affected by the very poor distribution practices of this company. A bad film is a bad film. Period.

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    2. It was so bad, I fell asleep. B-O-R-I-N-G!!!

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    3. Out of curiosity, which part in the documentary was haunting?

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    4. I guess many expect more from a movie than you do. I'm glad YOU enjoyed it. This movie was a waste of time. They finally sent me my copy in late December, but as I had already gotten a charge back from my bank, I sent it back to him. HONESTY is the best policy. Right, Chad????

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  4. Desiree,

    In fairness to people who are reading this commentary to determine whether they will watch the video or not, I think you need to make some important disclosures.

    As delays occurred in getting the video distributed, you and your friends wrote multiple nasty comments on the American Ghost Hunter Facebook page to a point where you and a few other people were banned from that page. You subsequently created a closed Facebook group called "Swindled and Banned . . ."

    It took a lot to be banned. Many complainers remained on the AGH page (Candidly, some people exhibited symptoms of psychoneurosis while contorting themselves over a $25 video with shipping included.)

    While I am glad that you have found new friends and are now happy in your collective anguish, I think you should be clear that your opinions are not based upon the merits of the video, but upon your personal vendetta against it.

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    1. I did not like the movie and I am very objective. It was what I expected it to be and the production values were sub-par.

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    2. Regardless of all OTHER issues, it still boils down to the movie wasn't what we were all lead to believe, it wasn't scary nor that raw, you watched it hoping for the IT factor to happen and it never did. I was bored watching it. There were also many things that a professional team would never do or at least never try to do, which also left me wondering WHY they even aired parts when evidence could have easily been tampered with off screen. Why they had to visit a few locations when that really had nothing to do with the main focus of the film. They lost me, they lost fans and supporters and the movie lost period! would only give it 1*/10.

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    3. I was banned, and I did not name call, use profanity, or anything like that. I just kept asking where my video was.I guess I asked too many times.

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    4. Dear Mr. Crook,
      Lets get a few things straight:
      #1 I do not have a personal vendetta against Chad Calek, and my opinions are based solely on merit. It was a horrible film and completely misleading.
      #2 I never harassed the AGH facebook page. True I did write to Chad asking where the dvd was, but I did not attack nor used vulgar language or any of the sort.
      #3 After one post I was immediately banned to which that happened to a lot of people, and oh yes we have saved all our interactions with Mr. Calek as well as our posts.
      #4 True I am part of a closed group called Swindled and Banned by AGH that I did not create to which I cannot take credit for, however, the original creator passed the reigns over to me and another lady. Its closed not secret so we're not hiding anything, and we keep it closed because some of the members asked to do so.
      #5 Thank you for being happy I've found new friends, and I quit cherish my collective anguish

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    5. Here is my disclaimer: My opinions, beliefs, and critique is based solely on my personal opinions and views in regards to American Ghost Hunter. I stand firm that this was a terribly made documentary that has nothing to do with the paranormal. Yes, the title does say " American Ghost Hunter" but the film reflects suspicious family dynamics, rather than that of an actual ghost hunter, or what it takes to be a ghost hunter. After seeing the film, I now understand why it never hit the theaters. Save your money people!

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    6. I said NOTHING bad or inflammatory, insulting, accusatory on the AGH fan page. All I did was ask when I was going to get my DVD, and was banned. So you are wrong. Many were "blocked" from the site for nothing incendiary. Unless you fawned over, complimented, gushed with adoration for Chad's film, stated that you would wait till they were old and grey ("after all, there were overwhelmed, they're doing the best they can"), you were eliminated from posting. THAT is the truth.

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  5. I only want to step in here to state that our opinions are an objective critique on the film, itself, and are entirely unrelated to any of the difficulties surrounding its distribution.

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    1. I agree, Carl. After waiting over 6 months to finally receive the DVD, I was anxious to watch it. Well, I could NOT have been more disappointed. 1/2 star from me. And that's a lot.

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  6. Ordered my DVD on August 22nd, advertised would be delivered on September 18th, when it wasn't I began emailing them on their contact us page on the website I ordered it from: aghtelevision.com, and emailed them twice a week there with no response. I dug up my receipt and it had a different address on it: help@aghtelevision.com so I wrote to that address no response. Nothing was posted on the website where I ordered so by month end I began searching for AGH, finally found they had a Facebook Page where they were giving updates on the product I purchased. Kept asking on the web page with everyone else. Finally got banned after getting 3 more email addresses to send my inquiries to. At this point all I wanted was a refund. Refunds Returns and Consumer Complaints on Facebook helped me get my refund back even though it was well after 45 days for PayPal and over 2 statements on my credit card. A day later I got the DVD - after I was banned for complaining. I sent it back certified - I don't trust this bunch any more that I can throw a grand piano. Try the group if you need help they have tons of information even for Europe and Australian customers. Here's their link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318105391665637/ that's Refunds Returns and Consumer Complaints - they'll help you get your money back or your DVD whichever you chose. Oh and you won't be banned if you're frustrated for not getting your DVD like all of us were. Good luck!

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  7. Sorry Carl for all the drama. I just wanted to thank you for your critique on the film since there wasn't many out there. I guess I opened Pandora's Box, and I sincerely apologize for that.

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    1. It's no trouble to me, only boosted the number of hits on the review :) Just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that there was no bias reflected in the review, it was just a bad film.

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  9. It was a highly disappointing movie. I won't recommend it to anyone. I literally wasted two hours of my life which i'm never gonna get back. There was nothing scary at all. The summary was good though and highly deceiving.

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  10. Cannot say I was not disturbed by the movie. I found the Iowa history vaguely interesting, though Chads execution did not do anything for me. I did not appreciate the seeming exploitation of family discord. I felt like turning it off, but wanted to see if there was any saving grace to the film. I have to agree that there were several points that were left open, with no real conclusion. Glad that I only watched on Hulu, and only time was lost. Was surprised to see that Lorraine Warren was in this. I respect her.

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