In a world filled with religious horror saturated with possession and CG it’s hard to remember that just the idea itself is still frightening. So many faiths and beliefs have led to wars and bloodshed as we all try to find the true callings and answers to the meaning of life. Some religions state the claim that they are sole representation of god himself and any other methods of thought are pure blasphemy in the eyes of the beholder. This is the type of feeling you get when watching the new film from Mitchell Altier(1/2 Of The Butcher Brothers) Holy Ghost People. The film revolves around the ancient Pentecostal church belief in snake handling. Which is something that has been done in the south for years. In the film a young woman named Charlotte (Emma Greenwell/True Blood) is searching for her sister who she believes is among the people of Sugar Mountain. On this journey she befriends the lost ex military man Wayne (Brendan McCarthy/True Blood) who seems to live his days courtesy of the bottle. They go in search of her sister but find way more than they ever anticipated.
Holy Ghost People is a very well done thriller that does a great job of capturing the ideas behind this way of life. It will remind you a lot of the film The Wicker Man as both Wayne and Charlotte succumb to the persuading ways of Brother Billy (Joe Egender). Joe is no slouch in his role as Brother Billy who is as compassionate and heart warming as he is ruthless and cold. Never once does he force his hand to make others do his bidding but with the types of people found on the mountain he really doesn't have too. One of the highlights of the film is the performance by Cameron Richardson who plays Sister Shelia. With the scars on her face and the way she handles herself in the film how she can to be with the mountain people is a story on itself that would probably make for a good film as well.
I was very pleased with the cinematography in Holy Ghost People as it looked great. I've been yammering for years that I would like see the american filmmakers improve on their camera work so you have to give the nod of approval to Altier here. There are no possessed entities, demons, or corn children killing their parents but don't let that dissuade you. Holy Ghost People is a great southern Gothic thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some may feel slighted by how the film ends but I thought it rounded out nicely. Each member of the cast has a vital role to progression of this film and I felt it was executed tremendously.
Holy Ghost People is a stark reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in a world you have no business in. The scariest part of it all is that world exists during a time when religious practices of all kinds have come into question. Can't tell that to the mountain people though as their faith is as strong as it has ever been. Holy Ghost People does a great job of showcasing a part of our country where your faith can bring out the best or worst in us all. It’s a horror film I would recommend to anyone no matter what kind of films they are into. A great cast , solid story and a different approach from the norm make Holy Ghost People a must see film of 2014.
Holy Ghost People is directed by Mitchell Altieri and stars Emma Greenwell, Brendan McCarthy, Joe Egender, and Cameron Richardson. It will be available on Tuesday February 18th, 2014. It is being distributed by XLrator Media.