“Ghostbox Cowboy”: A Scam You’ll Want to Fall For Comes to Video

Written by | Screen

Ghostbox Cowboy scene

Ghostbox Cowboy — Photo Courtesy Dark Star Pictures

A film as strange and inexplicable as its title: Texan Jimmy Van Horn (David Zellner) is something of a loser, so he bids farewell to America and heads to the booming city of Shenzhen, China with only a few bitcoins and his 10-gallon hat. His goal is to get in on the insanely booming economy of the city, where anything and everything is manufactured and sold, regardless of how insipid it seems. That’s lucky for Jimmy because his big idea is a small box with one button and a few flashing lights that he claims can be used for speaking with ghosts.

Also lucky for Jimmy: he has insider friends. His mysterious old buddy, Johnny Mai Thai has set him up with Bob (Robert Longstreet – The Haunting of Hill House, Sorry to Bother You) another American flashing a ridiculous wig, Wi-Fi dentures (don’t ask) and big promises about how rich Jimmy will soon become.

Bouncing around Shenzhen with Jimmy and Bob is a bit nauseating, but also quite the spectacle — even more so when things predictably fall apart and Jimmy is left to fend for himself in the foreign land, weakly peddling his only remaining resource: his cowboy-esque American novelty. In the film’s third act. Jimmy makes one last desperate move, traveling to the ghostly city of Ordos in an attempt to track down the elusive Johnny Mai Thai.

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What was already a surreal experience enters a more dense fog here, in no small part due to Ordos itself – one of several massive Chinese ghost cities abandoned at the cusp of completion, and it’s quite something to see. The Word: The film in general is also something to see. It’s strange as hell, and its ghost will likely haunt viewers’ minds for a while.  Coming to: Video

Last modified: March 6, 2019

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