I’m sorry to say this, but this movie was a disappointment. When I go to watch a movie called GHOST CAT, I expect, well, a ghost cat HAUNTING SHIT UP!!! That’s not the case. There IS a ghost cat, Margaret, but she doesn’t really help the story enough to justify her paranormal existence.
This film was made by Animal Planet because they had money lying around and thought, “Yeah, let’s make an animal movie, but with supernatural elements. Also, let’s use the entire budget to get Ellen Page in this. The kids love her.”
This movie wasn’t even called Ghost Cat when it came out in 2004, instead it was “Mrs. Ashboro’s Cat.” After it was rereleased, the title was changed again. This time to “The Cat That Came Back.”
Luckily, the people of Animal Planet realized this title doesn’t quite roll off the tongue and renamed the film to Ghost Cat (no relation to the film Ghost Dad).
I’m not here to talk about the several titles given to this terrible thing. So let’s get into the plot.
Within the first minute of the film, we are introduced to the cat, Margaret.
She’s not dead yet though. Did I spoiler that for you? Yeah, that cat WILL die. This film is called Ghost Cat, not The Cat that Lived and Was Quite Helpful.
After this intro, we are introduced to Ellen Page and her dad, Wes (or Sheriff Harry S. Truman for you Twin Peaks fans.) We are told that Wes writes novels about the ghost of the civil war. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural and at no point in the film does he believe that there is, in fact, a ghost cat. He doesn’t even seem that interested when Ellen Page says, “hey dad, I think there’s a ghost here.” The fact that Wes being a writer of the paranormal lives and dies in this 2 minute exchange.
So Ellen Page and Wes are looking for a home. I’m assuming to start a new life? Ellen’s mom died a year ago. That’s not entirely important although at one point she thinks the house is haunted by her mom. Which is funny because she confuses her mom’s voice for a cat’s meow. So anyways, they find a home for sale owned by a Mrs. Ashboro.
Mrs. Ashboro is an older, wealthy woman. There’s entire scenes without Ellen and her dad that just feature Mrs. Ashboro and Brenda, a 40-something woman that owns an animal shelter. Brenda’s animal shelter is located on land that a Ted Riker wants to purchase to build property on. Brenda is also behind on her payments (but we’ll come back to that).
Another character, Mrs. Ashboro’s nephew, Boyd, has made some bad investments. He is in desperate need of cash and is attempting to sell Mrs. Ashboro’s home. He meets with Ted Riker and finds out about the dilemna with Brenda’s animal shelter. So Boyd agrees to help sabotage the animal shelter in exchange for cash with Ted Riker.
Hey, guess what? That’s all really #(^# boring! Also, it accounts for a good 75% of this film. I’d rather talk about the ghost cat.
So I guess I should explain how the cat died. And in fact, we don’t know! To cover the boring story some more, Mrs. Ashboro retrieves $50,000 from the bank to give to Brenda. Rather then give it directly to Brenda she hides the money in a bag of cat food (seriously) and tells Margaret that she’s the only one that will know. Mrs. Ashboro then sits down on her chair AND DIES. Seriously. There is no discussion about her being in bad health, and in fact, she visits Ellen Page at the library where they discuss their love of Margaret some more.
So Mrs. Ashboro dies. We are told, of a broken heart. Again, there is no set up for this AT ALL. That same night, we are told Margaret dies as well because the script says so.
So Ellen Page and her dad move into Mrs. Ashboro’s house. Ellen starts noticing the piano plays by itself late at night.
So Ellen Page tells her dad, “Hey I think that this is mom,” and Wes is like, “It can’t be, she was more of a trumpet player.”
Okay, I made that one up.
The day after that “catastrophic” night, Ellen Page meets two brothers. One that she quickly friends, the other, she quickly gives the “let’s bang,” eyes.
So the three hold a seance to call upon the spirit of a cat. They pull out a Ouija board, and of course, it moves, because ghost cats can spell. This is a common fact. They follow the ghost cat out of the room.
So the cat knocks some flour off a shelf just so that it’s paws are visible and for the effects artist to think they’re oh-so-clever. I hate this film.
They follow Margaret to a bag of cat food where they uncover the money. Seriously, this is the only real purpose that the ghost cat served for almost the entire film. If her owner didn’t hide the money in the first place, this movie wouldn’t exist, and I think the world would be better for it.
So back to the non-cat portion of the story. Boyd sneaks into the animal shelter late at night and turns on a motor in an attempt to asphyxiate the animals.
Margaret, being a cat that is now omnipotent, wakes up Ellen Page (by licking her face) and leads Ellen to the shelter. So yes, you CAN say that the cat saves the day here, but Ellen’s Boy She Wants to Bone, appears at the shelter at the same time. NO GHOST CAT REQUIRED!
So they save the day, but the next day, Boyd uses fire on the shelter. Also, I forgot to mention his first attempt was cutting a hole in the fence to let the animals lose. So he cut a fence, tried to smoke them out, and finally tried to burn them alive. The writers took a page from The Three Little Pigs.
During this attempt, Ellen and The Boy She Wants to Bone were inside the shelter. And no, they save themselves. Margaret did not help at all. Instead, Boyd and Riker attempt to flee the scene, but Margaret manifests inside their car and claws Riker, who is behind the wheel. They wreck, but both survive. Although a quick look at her expression will show that she was out for blood that night.
So Brenda is given the cat litter money and is able to use that money to keep her animal shelter. So everyone is happy, and the cat winks at the camera. That’s the last shot of this thing.
So there you have it, Ghost Cat. Would not recommend. However there are those that WOULD recommend this film. So here’s a couple Amazon reviews that have a second opinion. (Best excerpts highlighted for your convenience.)