I love watching movies on VOD. I prefer blu ray of course, but it is nice just to rent a film sometimes and watch at home, having some snacks, and a nice whiskey. Some titles on VOD are interesting to check out, simply because i have never heard of the films before. Some are bad, some are actually alright, in all kinds of genres. Nowdays there are even some titles released on VOD before they come to a cinema screen, so you dont have to go and watch it downtown, you can just rent it at home instead. I prefer watching at a cinema screen, but i still think VOD is a great idea. Holy Ghost People is an example of a film i simply discovered on VOD, i had no idea what it was all about, only that it was under the thriller horror genre. A crazy religious cult out in the countryside ? Sounds like my kind of sunday bible school. Director Mitchell Altieri is known for his work in horror films, maybe you have seen The Thompsons, or The Violent Kind ? Smaller budget horror films, still i would say they did have some quality. Holy Ghost People is a motion picture that take on a religious cult issue, that we read about in newspapers, or hear on news channels. Maybe not as extreme as FLDS, but still there are plenty of cults out there doing strange things in their chapels. If you have not seen the documentary Jonestown - The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple, i suggest you watch it online. You will understand how far some religious people will go, if they really belive in a hoax preacher. Since i am interested in the subject of religious cults, to understand how people can belive in churches who preach evil, i was curious to see what Holy Ghost People would offer. Is this a fresh take on religious cults in a positive way, or have we seen it all before and don´t need to waste our time ?
Charlotte ( Emma Greenwell ) is worried about her sister Liz ( Buffy Charlet ), since she is missing. Charlotte have a feeling she might be located at the Pentecostal church, located in a very small community out in the forest. To make sure she can go there, without having problems to enter the church as her real identity, she asks Wayne ( Brendan McCarthy ), an Ex-Marine who drinks almost every day, to help her out and go with her. She pays him 200 dollars, and Wayne agree, but just for the money. As they arrive at the church, Charlotte confront the preacher Brother Billy ( Joe Egender ) that she would like to become a member. He invites her to stay for the night, and asks who the man is who is with her. She lies and say it is her father. Wayne is not happy about this, but decide to stay just to help Charlotte find out the truth. Some of the church members are not sure who these 2 new visitors are, and seem very suspicious. Charlotte still continue to try and find information where Liz might be, or if she is still alive. The deeper she digs, the deeper she gets herself into a dangerous situation.
Holy Ghost People is an independent thriller horror film that reminds me of Kevin Smith´s film Red State. The biggest difference is that in Red State, those church members killed every sinner brutally, in many different ways. The church members in Holy Ghost People uses other ways to torture people, especially with their brainwashing preacher. In a small community like this, you can understand why people are drawn to a church like this. They know nothing else in the outside world, so they see ordinary people as strange, and fake. They belive that the preacher is the only one who have all the answers. Holy Ghost People don´t try to make you hate religious people, this story just show that wrong people should not run a church. Director Mitchell Altieri manage to capture the feeling of poverty communities, where church is what matters most. You can feel how bad the situation is, and there are not many jobs left, so they need some safety in their lives, by going to church. I would say that this is his best film so far as a director, both as a story teller, but also for making a interesting view on religion. The preacher played by Joe Egender, who also starred in Mitchel Altieri´s film The Violent Kind, does a great performance as the disturbed preacher. This might also be the best character i have ever seen him do in a film so far. I did enjoy his performance in the tv series Alcatraz, but i still feel he fits even better here. Emma Greenwell is also good as Charlotte, who is searching for her sister, she feels very natural in her character. Holy Ghost People is a motion picture that truly shows how the situation is in ordinary day life, in smaller communities. There will always be religious cults out there, using people for their own advantage, and hiding behind the bible as an excuse. Holy Ghost People is worth your time, you might even be disturbed by how easy it is for cults to recruit new members. I am looking forward to the next film from director Mitchell Altieri, he does not seem to be interested in making big budget films, and tries to find interesting stories. Holy Ghost People is without a doubt his best work so far as an director, and i have a feeling he might give us something special in the future.