Dependent upon a desperate, alcoholic stranger (Brendan McCarthy, 2001 Maniacs) for a ride, she ventures to the mountaintop Church of One Accord, a less-than-idyllic commune. The snake-handling, God-fearing families who live and worship there are as tight-lipped about Sis’ whereabouts as they are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs — metaphorically speaking, of course.
Holy Ghost People represents a step up the maturity ladder for director Mitchell Altieri, one-half of the Butcher Brothers filmmaking duo last seen behind 2012’s suburban vampire saga The Thompsons. Instead of horror of the blood-spilling kind, Altieri goes for terror of the psychological mind. Aiding him greatly on that quest is Joe Egender (The Frankenstein Theory), who co-wrote and stars as Brother Billy, the church’s terrifying leader — and not just for his cartoon-ready haircut. Egender’s performance is akin to trying to snatch a chunk of cheese from a loaded trap: You’re just waiting for the cruel snap.
Best of all, Holy Ghost People is about something, and set somewhere that hasn’t been done to death. There is much to like about the film, save for a near-interminable stretch of dullness that runs straight down its middle. —Rod Lott