XLrator Media’s Holy Ghost People is a psychological thriller, which is a technical triumph but is peppered with mediocre acting and an unsatisfying ending. Emma Greenwell, Brendan McCarthy, Joe Egender, Cameron Richardson, Don Harvey, James Lowe, and Roger Aaron Brown star; Mitchell Altieri directs.
Charlotte (Greenwell) is in desperate need of help. She ends up enlisting the assistance of a stranger she meets outside of the bar she works in. She pays the brooding Wayne (McCarthy) $200 to take her to Sugar Mountain to pick up her estranged sister. The pair makes the trek to the Church of One Accord where they encounter a cult-like religious faction, led by Brother Billy (Egender).
Charlotte and Wayne pose as father and daughter, while they search for signs of the missing sister. However, the duo gets more than they bargained for, becoming intertwined in the affairs of the zombie-like Bible community. Charlotte discovers that her sister was stoned to death and later finds herself facing the same fate. Fortunately, Wayne is able to save the day and thwart the plans of Brother Billy and his misguided followers.
Don’t go into this film thinking it’s a horror movie, because you will be disappointed. The only thing scary about Holy Ghost People was the sub-par acting by the two lead protagonists, portrayed by Greenwell and McCarthy. It’s hard to care about your main characters when the actors just seem to be going through the motions of the script: reading not performing. In particular, it felt like Greenwell was working off cue cards on more than one occasion.
On the other side of the coin, Egender gives a wonderful performance as the baddie Brother Billy. Billy is a well-written villain, with a sense that he is doing God’s good work at any cost. The character is definitely the most interesting player in the film, and maybe that’s because Egender knew he was going to play the part. Check out the credits and you’ll find Egender’s name in the writing credits. In any event, his performance carries the film, and justifies a viewing.
I won’t give away the fate of Brother Billy, but it wasn’t satisfying. He caused a lot of carnage, and was in desperate need of facing the music, but the final confrontation between himself and Wayne was poorly executed. The writers probably thought they were being clever, but all they ended up doing was cheating the audience. Sometimes, there just isn’t a need for any more twists and turns to make the story better. The end should have given viewers more with a simple, but heated, showdown between good and evil; the scene didn’t even come close.
The aspect of Holy Ghost People, outside of Brother Billy, is the wonderful cinematography. Cinematographer Amanda Treyz created such an aesthetically pleasing film. Production designer Alessandro Marvelli also deserves praise for creating a gritty and realistic feel for the movie, particularly the Church of One Accord locales and sets.
Holy Ghost People is not a film you will watch over and over-again, but it isn’t a bad one-viewing date-movie/popcorn-flick. The story was suspenseful enough, and loaded with all manner of exquisiteness in the actual technical aspects, but suffers greatly from the lackluster effort of Greenwell and McCarthy, and a horrid ending.