‘Tortured souls never leave’
Ghost Witch – aka The Legend of Seven Toe Maggie – is a 2015 [released 2017] American supernatural horror film directed by Joseph Lavender (writer of Exit 101) from a screenplay co-written with Jarrod Musselwhite. It stars Mandi Christine Kerr, Gregory French and Josh Sinyard.
Amateur paranormal investigators “G.H.O.S.T.” arrive in a small town in Georgia when one of its members, Zeke, meets up with a local girl, Mattie, who had a disturbing paranormal experience as a young girl in an old house her father purchased.
The land the house sits on is said to be haunted by a Native American girl who was supposedly tortured and murdered inside a church that was once there. Its up to Mattie’s new found friends to discover the mystery behind the legend of seven toe Maggie…
Once there, they are stalked and possessed as the truth about what happened there is revealed, as they all become unwilling participants in the ghost witch’s plan for vengeance…
Ghost Witch is available widely this week via On Demand platforms from Wild Eye Releasing.
Ghost Witch is an agreeable supernatural sojourn, with a game, generally amiable cast, led by Chase Steven Anderson as geeky Zeke. Joseph Lavender’s direction is workmanlike and the technical credits, minus a couple of sound gaffes, are fine – a rarity in these days of micro-budget and often mind-numbing ‘found footage’ snore-inducers.
Unfortunately, for all its plus points in terms of the story set up and onscreen delivery of characters (that aren’t just the usual teen fodder), Ghost Witch lacks a certain punchiness and tension. Sure, there are agreeable signposted signals of what’s to come, and they are not without their knowing humour. Thus, we have those well-worn standbys, the old-timer who carps: “This land’s cursed! You need to leave!”, and the interloping arrogant cops (one of whom even idly sniffs an aghast paranormal investigator’s discarded knickers!).
There is even a (surely unintended) reminder of a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when Zeke barks: “Look, just stay here and make sure she doesn’t leave the room, ok?” For two-thirds of its running time, the film offers a cinematic ride we’ve been on before and it feels natural and is refreshingly without narrative baggage or show-off directorial distractions.
Towards the climax, there is the expected build up of minor mayhem, even if prior to this the requisite scares are fairly scarce. On the way, an apparently unsettling “demon face” is glimpsed so briefly that it barely registers. And that happens twice. Nothing is made of the “seven toe” potential for torment and although ghostly possession is depicted, as expected, it somehow lacks the visceral impact delivered in similar movies of this ilk.
Ultimately, Ghost Witch slightly outstays is welcome by spending too long on its denouement. The film’s message – that racial hatred is sheer ignorance and a bad thing – is obviously welcome. Like the slightly dysfunctional paranormal team of friends depicted, the film itself just ambles its way along rather than ripping its way into our psyche. It’s worth a visit but don’t expect too much of the Ghost Witch.
Adrian J Smith, Horrorpedia
“Seven-Toes Maggie is never really fleshed out enough, beyond some possession and a plenty of thumping, and while there are moments that hold potential, this is just not a scary movie and feels mostly untapped, relying on the well-tread clichés we seen before. Still, given what Lavander is trying to do and with what, some concessions might be warranted. He doesn’t take many risks but does show some promise in a few moments that build tension.” David Duprey, That Moment In
Mandi Christine Kerr (The Walking Dead; Cell; The Vampire Diaries), Gregory French (The Walking Dead; Sleepy Hollow TV series; The Vampire Diaries), Josh Sinyard (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies), Chase Steven Anderson (The Zombie Hero), Christina Pykles, Jessie Bockenek, Joseph Lavender, Elizabeth Barrett, Mandee Bloodworth, Travis Breedlove, Chuck Clark, Slade Curtis, Morgan Dasher, Stephen Dixon, Walter Robert Duckworth.
Byron and Warner Robins, Georgia, USA