Clara’s Ghost

Most home-movie productions from showbiz families end up as irritating indie dramas that would seem ripe for parody from a guy like Chris Elliott ­– who’s spoofed all manners of affectations since first outdoing his old boss David Letterman in Hollywood irony. Clara’s Ghost ends up being something a lot more ambitious, with Chris’ daughter Bridey Elliott making an incredible feature debut as writer and director, in addition to starring alongside her cultish father and slightly-more-famous sister Abby. This quiet horror story also brings in her mother Paula for one of the most daring debuts ever for a first-time actress in her 60s. The story of a haunted showbiz wife and mom also risks having the Elliotts – in the guise of comedy clan The Reynolds – mocking themselves as irritating performers driving the titular hapless matriarch into madness by being constantly “on” during a family gathering. Any doubts about Bridey’s righteousness are eliminated when the wacky Reynolds mime a classic pop tune while Clara is in the next room having a meaningful moment to the song’s accompaniment. Unfortunately, Clara’s Ghost is so offbeat that Bridey’s not sure how to end the story. It’s certainly not likely that the idea was to set up a sequel. Bridey still gets to wrap up her feature debut as a really interesting new director. She’ll probably avoid being scooped up by a superhero franchise, too, with Clara’s Ghost barely making it into theaters with a Dec. 7 premiere at the Riverstone 15 in Canton.