This independent horror film follows five 1958 teenagers who go off to explore a local legend surrounding an abandoned plantation home. The legend tells of a Civil War widow named Elizabeth Hatley, who upon hearing the news of her husband's death, ordered her maidservant to fatally wound each of her children and lock them in the closet. The legend asserts that anyone who enters the closet and says, "The maid is not dead but sleepeth," three times will awaken Elizabeth Hatley's spirit. Written by
The knowledge that this film was many of its makers' first attempt provides something of a cushion for its overall failure to realize its potential. Striving for a bit of "The Blair Witch Project" with a dab of down-home Southern Gothic feel and a shot of 1950's innocence, the film's original idea is quite interesting: that a Civil War widow who ordered the murder of her five children now haunts the crumbling remains of her mansion and can be summoned back at the command of teenagers in search of a good fright. The premise of the film is that history might repeat itself, that the teens in the movie might bite off more than they can chew by trying the trick for themselves. In the end, though, the writing is pretty awful and the delivery isn't significantly better. While all of the more abstract scenes and the camera work that accompanies them - basically anything that doesn't involve dialogue - are very impressive, they're dragged back under the surface by the poor acting, while the character development, such as there is, acts in direct contradiction to the rest of the film. The jarring disconnect between the characters' relationships and what's apparently happening around them made me wish I could edit this film myself. Somewhere in its 80+ minutes there's a terrifying half-hour short I would gladly have paid just as much to see in a third of the time.
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