A Brazilian gross-out comedy which pits a quartet of desperate Ghostbusters imitators – the subtitles call them Ghoulbusters, and they have wonkily almost-actionable imitation logos and jumpsuits – against malevolent little girl ghost Loira do Banheiro who gets translated as ‘Bloody Mary’ (repeat her name before a mirror, etc) but who has a lot in common with the Japanese urban legend of Hanako-san (she haunts a toilet stall in a school girls’ toilet). A busily self-referential, indulgent picture – there’s even a namecheck for longtime Brazilain spook icon Ze do Caixao – this takes a bludgeoning approach, and goes on a good half hour too long. Still, it has a few gross moments that evoke early Peter Jackson – alongside rather too many that evoke Troma – and Pietra Quintela is actually rather a disturbing presence as the spook girl.
A recent trend in horror, especially of the comic variety, is having the gang who get into trouble be would-be youtube superstars, and here the Exterminadores are a bunch of frauds out to score a TV series contract who happen to run into a real haunting. The team are all rather grating – obnoxious Fred (Léo Lins), bland Jack (Danilo Gentili), stooge Tulio (Mario Couto), and ditzy psychic Caroline (Dani Calabresa) – and rather too many extra teachers, staff and hangers-on are required to stay overnight in the haunted school to be possessed or dismembered or do self-referential chat about what they’d do if they were (heh heh) minor characters in a stupid horror movie). It includes scenes where characters are attacked by a possessed turd, a pickled foetus and a pile of footballs, and has Tulio spend most of the film with half his beard shaved off and in a white dress and yellow wig.
Though it runs on and on beyond most audiences’ tolerance, it gets suddenly more interesting in the montage of what-happens-next/media sensation that runs under the end credits – and there’s a sly tag which pokes fun at Paranormal Activity. Written by Gentili, Andre Catarinacho and director Fabricio Bittar.