The Invisible

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Starring Justin Chatwin and Margarita Levieva. Rated PG.

Director David S. Goyer turned the familiar sights of our fair city into a seething battleground for vampires in 2004's Blade: Trinity, but his latest Vancouver-shot supernatural flick, The Invisible, doesn't have nearly as much bite. It's a remake of the 2002 Swedish thriller Den Osynlige, but it comes off like a toothless, teenybopper take on Ghost. And the number of whiny, self-pitying characters is through the roof.

Justin Chatwin from War of the Worlds stars as Nick Powell, an angst-ridden, poetry-spouting high-school senior. After grad, Nick hopes to study literature in London but his controlling, widowed mother (a slumming Marcia Gay Harden) seems bent on stifling his ambitions. While sticking up for his gutless one and only friend (Chris Marquette), Nick draws the ire of surly campus bad girl Annie Newton, played by Jessica Alba look-alike Margarita Levieva. When Annie gets ratted on for a jewellery store smash-and-grab, Nick is wrongly named as the informant and winds up badly beaten and left for dead in the forest. He's still alive, but that doesn't stop his ghost or spirit or whatever you call it from casually heading back to school like nothing happened.

When no one in his English class can see or hear him, ghost Nick concludes that he must be dead. A while later he realizes that he's hovering in some kind of limbo and that his battered body must be rescued for him to avoid slipping all the way over into death. The vast majority of scenes involve Nick frantically yelling at and gesturing toward various people, urging them to recover his body. Since everyone is oblivious to his presence, this gets old fast. Eventually, he's able to communicate with the troubled Annie, the idea being that in her isolated and haunted state she's "invisible" too.

Lacking confidence in the script's ability to hold teens' attention, the filmmakers regularly call on an overbearing indie-pop soundtrack. Tunes by the likes of TV on the Radio, Snow Patrol, and Broken Social Scene get cranked up every 15 minutes or so, but the only time I felt a flutter of genuine emotion was when they played Death Cab for Cutie's bittersweet afterlife ode, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark".