Ghost Witch was originally made in 2015, under the title of The Legend of Seven Toe Maggie, all thanks to a successful IndieGoGo campaign served as the debut feature film of director/writer Joseph Lavender which was later repackaged nicely by Wild Eye Releasing in 2017. Joseph used an urban legend/folklore involving Native Americans and expanded upon it for this horror flick and made it much more entertaining for film reasons.
The actual Legend of Seven Toe Maggie comes southern Georgia surrounding the tale of a Native American who was a slave and horrendously tortured during the civil war in a local church. As if it was actually real or not, quite hard to discern, as many have variations on the tales, these stories exist throughout the world, the legends and tales made to scare the youth or test their brevity, either way always fun entertainment for fans of the horror genre if done correctly. Therefore, Lavender spiced it up a bit, first the church, now a house, as easier to acquire permission and not offend any of the locals, and as for the spirit well she got the name because her attackers chopped off 3-toes of hers for some unknown reason. This all leads to saying her name and walking around the church seven times and she’ll magically appear. Yes, it is the common tale heard often from Bloody Mary to Candyman saying or doing something a certain amount of times and the door to the other side mysterious opens and bad things tend to happen. Thereby the Ghost Witch achieves the rightful place of using the title card of ‘based on true events’.
Mattie (Mandi Christine Kerr) who’s experience moments of paranormal dimensions and ghosts plaguing her life in general in both positive and negative manners, finds help in the unlikeliest of ways, from Zeke (Chase Steven Anderson), who she meets at a party, who is bullied by her brother, and aids him afterwards. This leads to an introduction, thanks to her genuine sympathy for him, and they of course mutually like each other and bond nicely, especially aided by their interest of the paranormal. Zeke, a member of a confused and argumentative ghost hunting group called G.H.O.S.T., which they venture to the haunted house she mentions about the murdered Native American girl. Everyone knows once they entered, their fates belong to the ghost, and for the most part it all works well, some spectral stalking and possession, occurs, but the script includes a doomsayer warning that the land is cursed and were told to leave the grounds. In addition, all the modern haunted house techniques come into play against the so-called experienced investigation team, from unseen hands dragging people (a trope used in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)), hence nothing new. Sadly, the technique of expanding mouths and gumby bodies, all taken from Grave Encounters (2011), makes appearance in the film.
When the actions dismiss on the haunting front the cast seems to aimless wonder, the script scraping at the horror, from trivial arguments and misguided scenes never quite attacking the audience with scares, leaves many starving for a serious feeding frights. While the foreshadowing of upcoming scenes might elude some, the more harden horror fans, likely to engage with a phone app as the movie plays. A few times one desires more visceral elements such as removal of multiple toes, face bloody socks and sneakers definitely give some the willies. I personally find it odd, as the original title is more appealing, standing out to the viewer. Nevertheless, Lavender, deals with a low-budget horror production, some of the acting finds itself either stilted or moving at a smooth pace. Speaking of pace, it at times feels a tad padded another pass at editing likely tighten the feature, sometimes new filmmakers think that lengthening a movie builds suspense the better rule is to tell a story in the straightest path possible for the viewers.
Ghost Witch lacks tension, and sadly chooses the wrong title, a commonplace phrasing, rather than the original allowed for more curiosity, I don’t mean to harp on the title, but too often it hinders the interest for the viewer. For example, typing the name, Ghost Witch into the search field on IMDb results in a hodge-pod of films such as Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (1999) and a few others. However, aside from the name, the movie never archives the right combination of thrills. The inspiration coming from the films turned out by Hollywood such as The Conjuring, but where that movie succeeds, this only delivers a fleeting grip, losing the chances to throttle scares into the genre of hardcore fans.
IMDb Rating: 4/10
Baron’s Rating: 4/10