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Film Review: Ghost Witch (2015)

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SYNOPSIS:

A group of rag-tag paranormal investigators get more than they bargain for when they research an old local urban legend for a disturbed local girl.

REVIEW:

Ever find yourself thinking about what people in the future will think of the films we leave behind?

I mean, I’m a big fan of craptastic cinema from the 50s through the 80s. I love the look of the film grain, the awkwardness of regional films, the cheesiness of the fashions and hairstyles, even the wear and tear on the old prints of the films. They are familiar to me; I find comfort in the images.

In the future, what films made now will be seen as bad but fun, crappy but entertaining?

I would like to offer “Ghost Witch” as a potential contender for a future craptastic delight in 25 to 30 years.

The film starts with a pool party being thrown by a snot of a human. Our “hero”, Zeke (Chase Steven Anderson), is made the butt of a prank and is dumped into the pool by the obnoxious host. The jerk’s sister rescues Zeke. Next thing you know, our hero and Mattie (Mandy Christine Kerr) are sharing their mutual interest in the supernatural.

Mattie tells about a house her father owns that has a reputation for being haunted. Zeke jumps at the chance to win her over by inviting his friends and their dog, Scooby, to investigate the possible ghostly activity. I was joking about Scooby. Zeke is pretty much the Scooby of this group of ghost hunters.

You can pretty much write the rest of the film from that point. Weird things. Spooky old guy who warns of danger. Possessions. Blood. Actors pretty much running in circles. A ghost. Bad things happen.

This kind of film is cheap as hell to make. In fact, “Ghost Witch” boasts a budget of $10,000. While that isn’t chump change, it is a crazy low budget for a film. Between ghost hunting flicks and found-footage films, the direct-to-digital formats will have enough films to flood the market, much like low-budget slashers and disaster and rubber-suited-monster movies in the past.

From this heap of cinematic fodder, maybe “Ghost Witch” will find some fans in the future as it has a few factors working in its favor.

The movie is all over the place as far as tone. One scene is apparently played for cheap humor; the next is just awkward; and the following scene is dark in tone and violent. The bad thing is it becomes hard to tell if this is planned or just a case of it just being poorly put together. Personally, I don’t see some grand scheme to be meta going on here, so I’m thinking is purely by accident. The inconsistent tone definitely provides a few chuckles.

The actors are functional, in general. No one is openly horrible, but the performances sometimes come across as forced or hokey. And a lot of interactions between the actors almost give you the impression that they all know each other and are doing this as some kind of glorified demo reel. Actually, if you look up the main cast, you will find a lot of them have worked with each other. In the end, you kinda like the cast because most of them don’t seem to take the film any more seriously than you should.

Admittedly, you don’t get anything as straight up pathetic, like bats dangling from visible strings or crew members appearing in the background. And the special effects are capably handled even though there precious few of them throughout the film.

On the downside, the whole film feels about 10 minutes too long. Scenes move slowly due to poor pacing, and other scenes feel tacked on just so a certain event can take place. Occasionally, you might get the feeling the material already covered is given too much additional attention in later scenes. With a nip and tuck here and there, “Ghost Witch” would move smoother and not allow you time to wonder if your watch has stopped.

On a side note, I would like to be a totally incorrect male and say that the main female actresses in the film helped keep the entertainment factor up. Mandi Christine Kerr is probably one of the better-known members of the cast with roles in a few more high-profile roles to her name. Still, she is lovely and plays her character with a sweetness that doesn’t make you gag. Christina Pykles plays the somewhat bitchy Kylie. She has a nice smoldering quality that makes her both sexy and slightly annoying at the same time. And Jessie Bockenek plays Ellie, a lady with Goth-like dress. It doesn’t feel like she gets enough screen time, but she manages to make her character seem loyal and likeable.

“Ghost Witch” is not a good movie, to be honest, but it is a film that is enjoyable in a weird way. In fact, it works almost like a video of a fireplace fire: It’s fine to show on your television, but don’t look too deep.

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