It is so rare to watch horror made for the adolescent age group because everything is all grown up these days. Even the content that is meant to be for teenagers comes across as adult content, so it’s a breath of fresh air when we see actual curious children in the beloved genre. While the likes of Casper are not to be found these days, most recently, the show Lockwood & Co. came close to this style of horror meant for the young. The Strange Case of the Claustrophobic Ghost is a great example of Mexican cinema today. It’s fun, it’s adorable, and it has the right amount of fantasy and fright for kids to be intrigued and afraid at the same time. Let’s quickly get into the story of the ghost in Nikolaj’s closet.
What Happens In The Movie?
The Strange Case of the Claustrophobic Ghost begins with Nikolaj and his younger brother, Emil as they arrive in a new town in Mexico with their mother. After shifting into the new house, Nikolaj finds it difficult to sleep because he hears commotion from inside his closet. They’ve moved because their parents are taking a break from each other. Nikolaj likes to make videos and has made custom-built technology to enhance the videos he shoots on his phone. He isn’t very happy to have moved and doesn’t understand why his parents want to be separated from each other. In his new school, he’s immediately smitten by a girl named Ximena in his class. Ximena is interested in the occult, and Nikolaj tells her that there’s a ghost in his closet.
Ximena has a lot of knowledge about the paranormal. She’s always seen reading strange books, and nobody seems to like her because of this. A few days later, Ximena takes the boys to the subway to show them the different kinds of ghosts. According to Ximena, level 1 is for the mischievous ghosts; level 2 is for the ones who have no idea they are dead; and level 3 is for the ghosts who feel pain and dread and don’t appreciate the fact that they are dead. Usually, they have something to do with the human world because they may have died violently or been hurt by something. Their conversation is interrupted when they’re on the way to the house by a strange neighbor who tells them to go away.
Ximena accompanies them home, and while Nikolaj can see and talk to the ghost, Ximena can only sense its presence. The ghost makes a big mess in the room and tells Nikolaj to get out of there because it’s been his home forever. Ximena probes Nikolaj to ask the ghost if he knows he’s dead and find out a little bit about him. It’s a futile exercise, though, and both kids end up scared. The commotion gets Nikolaj’s mom to come into the room, and seeing the mess, she sends Ximena straight back home. Emil starts feeling distant from his brother because he’s always talking to Ximena. He thinks the two are pretending about the ghost and dismisses anything Ximena says about spirits. The ghost doesn’t want the closet door shut ever. That’s his biggest complaint to Nikolaj, and he makes a big mess inside whenever it’s shut. The doors open in the middle of the night, which is why Nikolaj knows of the ghost’s presence at all. Then, one night, the ghost comes out and has a full conversation with Nikolaj. The ghost tells Nikolaj that he needs to get out of the house because this is his room, and Nikolaj is invading his privacy. Nikolaj says there’s nothing he can do because he’s just a kid, but the ghost doesn’t care about any of that. Nikolaj makes the decision to stay with his father for some time, but while he’s on his way, Ximena and Emil go find him to stop him from leaving.
They head back to Ximena’s house, and Nikolaj gets a shout from his mother. She thinks Ximena is a bad influence. On the other hand, Ximena helps figure out who this ghost may be and why he’s still there. Nikolaj finds out that Ximena’s father is dead. It turns out there was an earthquake in the area in 1985, and a lot of buildings collapsed. They conclude that the ghost has something unresolved, which is why he’s still roaming the earth.
The kids interviewed Nikolaj and Emil’s neighbors to find out if they were around during the earthquake, but to no avail. Only the strange woman who told them to go away on the street tells them that she saw some buildings collapse, but it was a long time ago, so they shouldn’t talk about it. They then try to break into a strange house next door. Before all three of them can climb in through the window, a woman shows up at the door. Nikolaj goes in through the window, and the other two distract the old woman. Nikolaj finds a diary and comes down to see the other two in the house. They get him to sit down, too, and the old woman returns with a glass of water for Ximena. She says that she’s mad at her daughter, Marcela, and her sisters because they decided to sell this house without talking to her. She then talks about the next-door building, which collapsed completely. She says a boy lived on the 4th floor, and Marcela used to be deeply in love with him, which is why she was never the same after he died. That’s when Marcela actually shows up, and she’s the same woman from the street. The mother ignores Marcela, and Marcela shoos the kids away. They go through the contents of the diary once outside and find out that the boy’s name is Poncho, and he was in love with a girl whose name has been cut out on all the pages. He wanted to give a letter the next day to the love of his life, but then the earthquake occurred.
Now that they know Poncho’s name and his pending mission, Nikolaj tells him the plan to send his letter for him. Nikolaj just needs to know where the letter is and the name of the girl he wants to send it to. Poncho tells Nikolaj that the room he’s staying in used to be Poncho’s. Poncho gets claustrophobic in the closet because it reminds him of the earthquake, but he doesn’t give Nikolaj the details because he’s too afraid. At first, Poncho can’t remember the girl’s name because he’s so sad and heartbroken and mentions only her eyes that changed colors in the sun, but just as he’s about to leave Nikolaj, he remembers that her name is Claudia.
They find two Claudias who could be Poncho’s lover from back then and send them both an email with a video file where Ximena explains their situation. Nikolaj’s mother comes into the room and shouts at them for staying awake this late. Nikolaj is angry at his mother for always worrying about work and tells her that he doesn’t care what she thinks. He talks back to her. She then decides it’s high time she sent him to his father.
Do The Kids Get The Letter To Claudia?
Nikolaj gets picked up by his father, and on the way, he looks through the videos on his phone because he wants to make a video. Nikolaj notices that in a video he took of Marcela, she’s completely missing, and only the broomstick and the journal that she was holding are visible. This means Marcela, too, is a ghost, and Ximena and Emil are in danger. Nikolaj shows the video to his dad, and he thinks it’s just some special effects. Nikolaj says it’s not and that they need to get back immediately to help Ximena and Emil. Nikolaj sends a message to both of them with his new discovery. Nikolaj and Emil’s parents start to fight when they meet, and Nikolaj says there are bigger problems to take care of. He needs them to be there for him, and they manage to be civil with each other and take him back to school.
Ximena and Emil run to the roof because they hear Marcela’s voice and panic. Emil video calls Nikolaj and tells him that Marcela has come to attack them. When they reach the roof, Nikolaj immediately rushes to talk to Marcela. Marcela loved Poncho, but he loved Claudia. She had stolen his journal before the day of the earthquake and the letter as well. Finally, Poncho shows up on the roof, too, and tells Marcela to return the letter. He tells her that he forgives her for what she did, and she finally disappears. Back in the house, her mother disappears too, meaning she was a ghost as well, and her daughter’s satisfaction helps her, too. The parents, who are outside and can’t break the door open, finally make it through when all the ghosts disappear.
Finally, Nikolaj and Ximena find Claudia and give her the letter. Their goal was only to deliver the letter, not force Claudia to read it. She actually does read the letter, and we see her eyes change color in the sunlight, just as Poncho remembered. The wardrobe door finally shuts, meaning Poncho no longer has anything chaining him here. In the end, we find out that Nikolaj is leaving to go back to his dad’s place, and he has made a video letter for Ximena. She gives him a kiss and tells him to remember it before they both watch the video together.
It looks like there are plans for sequels to The Strange Case of the Claustrophobic Ghost, and the scripts are already in the works. The Ghostbusting Trio will be interesting to watch again, and it’ll be great to see them go on new adventures with different types of ghosts.