Ghost Wars promises everything you might want from a supernatural horror series: a sleepy small town, an endless torrent of undead souls, experimental science, religious fanaticism, and the gorgeous visuals of B.C.’s landscapes.
The 13-part series created by Simon Barry was filmed in Vancouver and Squamish in 2017. The locations served as the town of Port Moore, Alaska, a community that’s grappling with an onslaught of unexplained hauntings. The series saw an earlier release on SyFy last fall and will begin streaming on Netflix in Canada on March 2.
During a visit to the set, the Georgia Straight sat down with a few of the cast members to get a better idea of what to expect from Ghost Wars. Actor Kim Coates—who plays fisherman and contraband salesman Billy McGrath—told the Straight that the audience will be as surprised as the actors by the story’s twists.
“This show is crazy—it’s fucking insane,” Coates said. “I was given a slight arc but it was all a surprise. And I mean it, I remember going to Simon after reading episodes four, five, and six and saying, ‘You’ve gotta walk me off the cliff here, pal. It’s too crazy for me.’”
Coates, the Saskatchewan-born talent who’s perhaps best known for his role as Tig Trager on Sons of Anarchy, said Ghost Wars presented him with a few challenges as an actor: reacting to green-screen spirits, and wrapping his head around the supernatural dynamics of Port Moore. But he was drawn to the script for its strong writing, and he thinks its unique story will appeal to audiences.
“We’ve had ghost stories—we’ve had a lot of them—but not like this,” Coates said. “This isn’t just one little ghost stalking someone. There’s an entire freaking town of dead spirits. Some are real, some are half, some are struggling, some are friendly, some are being inhabited by another person in a ghost… It’s just shit happens all the fucking time. Like major ghost shit, scary shit. And it’s kinda creepy.”
Ghost Wars brags a script scary enough to creep out its own cast—and it’s an impressive cast, to boot. Avan Jogia and Vincent D’Onofrio star as the town priest and medium, respectively, and are joined by Kandyse McClure’s experimental physicist, Kristin Lehman’s town doctor, and Meat Loaf's handyman.
Luvia Peterson plays Billy’s sister, Mayor Val McGrath-Dufresne. While Peterson’s a horror fan herself—she was excited to note the visual parallels with Donnie Darko in the series trailer—she gushed to the Straight about the series’ powerful writing, where the characters have close relationships with the spirits that are tormenting them.
“We have a lot of history with the ghosts, so it brings up old wounds. This is kind of a gross analogy, but this story rips the scabs off of old, unhealed wounds,” Peterson said. “We’re being haunted by people we love, people we miss, and it’s hard because even if they aren’t the people we remember them to be, we still see them a certain way. So right away it’s a heart-centric story.”
Ghost Wars promises horror, heart, and pictures of home—what more could you ask of T.V.?