Ambush of Ghosts (1993): Sundance Fest–Family Melodrama Starring Genevieve Bujold

Sundance Film Festival 1993 (Dramatic Competition)–Set in Los Angeles, Everett Lewis’ emotionally suffocating drama, “Ambush of Ghosts” centers on the efforts of a young man to come to terms with his mother’s recurring bouts of insanity, caused by the death of her child.

Thematically, this feature recalls “Ordinary People,” Robert Redford’s 1980 Oscar-winning drama, which also focuses on a turbulent mother-son relationship, as a result of the death of a favorite son. Unfortunately, this indie film is suffused with a striking visual style that overwhelms the narrative and its characters.

Strong acting by the entire ensemble elevates the film, but it’s doubtful that there’s a large theatrical audience for a film whose approach is too measured (almost studied) and pacing over deliberate.

Even so, it’s always a pleasure to watch Genevieve Bujold, who here plays the troubled mother, and Bruce Davidson, as the husband-father. As the sensitive son, newcomer Stephen Dorff has a strong screen presence, which speaks well for a promising acting career.


Running Time: 99 minutes

Distributor: Stress Fiesta Films Director: Everett Lewis Producers: Robert Shulevitz, Lauren Graybow Screenplay: Quinton Peeples Camera: Judy Irola Editor: Claudia Hoover Costume: Alexandra Welker Music: Klive & Nigel Humberstone/In the Nursery Production Design: Vincent Jefferds


George Betts (Stephen Dorff) Irene Betts (Genevieve Bujold) Bill Betts (Bruce Davidson) Christian (Alan Boyce) Denise (Anne Heche)