Sometimes in the horror genre, a filmmaker tries to connect his concept using unconventional methods especially if the avenues of finances trail off into dead ends, hence the vastly popular design of found footage, however director Wes Miller, strives forward with a narrative storyline with James Palmer’s script into vastly rich and often overlook witches tales. The sweeping styles, of limited locations sadly drive the Louisiana tale back into the swamps leaving a heavily uncharted territory on the pages without a worthwhile exploration of the material, a mocku-thriller would serve better in this film from Midnight Releasing. Nevertheless, the film, while not perfect, strives to put the best efforts forward, with intriguing cover art, and a bit of reference to The Blair Witch Project (1999), using all the tricks to keep it from becoming sunken to the mud and buried forever.
The viewers quickly find themselves with lead character Ronald (Scott Seegmiller) inheriting his father’s home, whom he didn’t get along with too well, and comes to discover his father’s mortal fear involve the dealings of a witch, tormenting him to death. He discovers notes and later noises involving the witch Lily Grace (Sonya Cooke). Quickly another introduction to the Sheriff (Greg Travis) who gives more answers that are evasive and leaves one scratches their heads as to the understanding of the witch and his father’s death. However, throw another twist coming from the constant running Jake (James Palmer) who appears with the facial expression of ‘what the hell’ is going on, a reflection upon the audience’s faces, as he just looks bewilder to the issues at hand. Palmer’s acting measures on an even level, as a dim bulb and petty criminal, make alliance with Ronald and agreeing to capture Grace, sadly the reasoning never truly explained which the same throughout the movie remains. The lacking of back story effects the so many aspects, including building tension in the film and connection for the audience, resulting in the anticipation of the viewer clicking the pause button, and debating whether to continue the movie. It becomes very easy to lose the thread of the story and plod into aimless direction, the actors hit their cues and marks, but it feels as if the actors bailed each other out on the production, creating nothing breakout, yet never caving in on the film.
Miller’s film, contains a slow burn that never achieves a wondrous inferno, that the sub-genre of witches and warlocks (not merely occult theme), lacks true exploration from many filmmakers, the 1980s the movies Witchboard and the series Witchcraft, did it well, even the franchise The Ghoulies got a start with it. In the past the genre had the Vincent Price classics Witchfinder General and The Raven (1963), simply Lily never lives up to the past creations. A reasoning for why it does not have my witchcraft depth, simple lack of funding , and that stresses the patience of the audience to enjoy the movie, giving nothing of pending foreshadowing of the craft to cling valiantly too.
Without a proper budget the unconventional methodology relies more background, but again the haunted aspects never materialize, the father’s home looks if fine condition, there’s no foreboding occurring, to develop a thick gothic atmosphere, leaving the visuals to imagination. As for the picture, the audio is clear, but the still cheapness shines through, unless the intention provides the backwoods holding secrets, yet that becomes quite a leap of faith. The pace while steady, just loses interest, the story wanders at times as drunken individual wobbly on their legs struggling to get home, in a confusion manner.
This film, feels unfinished, and lacks the cohesiveness to have an enjoyable horror film even on the basic level, though clocking in at 84-minutes and the cast does the best it can with the material, it rolls to a disjointed realization that the clues and some of the answers lay late in the final hurried act of the movie. Most horror fans will stay the course even with a bad movie, as long as the cast engages well and the storyline has a steady baseline, sadly, the not all the witchcraft can give this film a positive spin and recommendation. Although one is curious to see what the cast does in the future of the horror genre.