Ghost Cat

Netflix Instant Classic: Ghost Cat

(Note: I’ve found multiple titles for this film, including “Mrs. Ashboro’s Cat,” and “The Cat That Came Back.”)

Genre: TV Movie, Family Friendly

What’s it about? An old lady and her cat kick the bucket, but the latter returns from the after-life to foil a land grab.

Who’s in it? Ellen Page, Margaret the Cat

You’ll like it if… You like ghosts, cats, or ghost cats.

So, a widower shows up in small town New Jersey with his daughter, pulls his car over and immediately tries to buy a house he’s never seen before from a lady who doesn’t want to sell it.

And he’s the most normal guy in the movie.

Of course, that’s plenty fair when you consider the premise here is that a cat comes back from the dead to settle an inheritance claim.

Truth is, I love a good ghost story. And too often, animals are omitted from them.

If people can die and come back to life, why not animals? I like to picture the ghost world as populated with all kinds of crazy, extinct creatures with unfinished business.

I’m not the only one who thinks that way, either.

That is, this isn’t the first story about a ghost cat.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story called “The Black Cat.” It’s a chilling, and even disturbing, tale that really sets the bar for feline-based paranormal fiction.

Another master of the craft, Steven King, took his shot, too, with Pet Semetary (one of my all-time favorite movies).

This movie, Ghost Cat, doesn’t stack up to either of them, but it’s a fair enough effort for a made-for-TV movie that aired on Animal Planet 10 years ago.

It stars Ellen Page (*Wistful Sigh*), who is hands down the best – and really, only capable – human actor in the whole thing.

In fact, she won an award for her performance, the prestigious Gemini Award for the Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series.

Me-ow.

Still, Page’s performance notwithstanding, the real breakthrough star here is, without question, Margaret the Cat.

Margaret the Cat delivers a tour de force performance.

Being a cat, and therefore unable to speak, Margaret relies on her gazes, body language, and subtle vocal cues to express her character’s inner-workings – those of a cat returned from the dead.

It’s no small feat.

Ghost Cat’s convoluted plot and blurry characters are so cumbersome as to nearly capsize the entire film. You can actually feel the movie teeter, driven to imbalance by the director’s inarticulate approach and the stale performance of its cast (sans Page, of course).

But when Margaret takes the helm, the ship is instantly righted. The waters calm and sails billow as the story cruises atop the uneven waves.

Margaret rescues this film just as she rescues livestock from a barn fire in Ghost Cat’s climactic scene.

So while this movie starts off in a free fall, seemingly destined to splatter on the cold, unforgiving ground of banality, it manages to land on its feet thanks to the performance of one precocious feline.

Just have a look for yourself…

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