Friday, October 22, 2021

Ominous October - Mass Hysteria (2019)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Mass Hysteria (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Length: 66 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: First-Name Films, The Horror Collective
Director: Arielle Cimino, Jeff Ryan
Writer: Jonathan T. Coleman, Christopher O'Connell
Actors: Geena Santiago, Jeff Ryan, Scott Swayze, Alexandra Dietrich, Luke Deardorff, Destry Allyn Spielberg, Robert D. Murphy, Matt Perusse, Louis Cancelmi, Charlie Pollock, Daniel Alvarado, Michelle Veintimilla, Jessica Richmond, Molly Sidell, Kellie Moon, Hannah Wagner, Chloe Eaton
Blurb from IMDb: A group of Salem witch trial reenactors find themselves at the center of a modern day witch hunt.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’m not often surprised by the movies we see. Sure, a twist might catch me off-guard, or I might like something more or less than expected – but this surprised me more in the way that Slaxx (2021) did than something like The Sixth Sense (1999). It altered my expectations in ways that most movies don’t.
It started out cute, in a home-brew kind of way. If I had to make any comparisons, I’d have said it felt like it was in the same category as something like The Gamers (2002). Low budget, kind of funny, nothing that would stand up to the big-name flicks, but watchable. Even enjoyable.
What started campy and mildly interesting, turned menacing in the last ten minutes (or so).
The twist really brought the creep factor. It would have been a decent movie either way, but I wouldn’t have labeled it much of a horror film until that script flipped at the end.

I was shocked.
I think what made it scarier than it probably set out to be, was that it made sense.
My knee-jerk reaction was that it didn’t, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I bought it. I saw the logic in it. When horror has some of that logic, it just hits harder.
I think Mass Hysteria is really worth it. I’d recommend gathering some friends and getting some popcorn so you can have some real fun with it. It’s a great flick for a teenage Halloween sleep over. Maybe not the youngest teens, but 15 and above.

Cat’s Point of View:
I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I have a great appreciation for stories surrounding the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. Mass Hysteria is set in the modern era pre-pandemic but it beautifully taps into the spirit of its title and the location of its setting for some entertaining satire.
One of the things I appreciated the most about Mass Hysteria was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. The movie leaned into the tropes surrounding tourists and their expectations for a macabre historic locations, such as Salem, and it was glorious.
It’s clear that there was a bit of a shoestring budget involved, but they got the most bang for their buck by letting the audience imagine most of the grisly violence occurring – rather than having to engineer the physical effects for it all to happen on screen. There’s something to be said about the mind’s ability to fill in the blanks with horror movies. What we imagine can be far scarier than anything an SFX department could put together.

So much of Mass Hysteria is over the top, but it works – right down to the customized license plate on a jacked-up truck featured in the later part of the film.
It even managed to throw me a little. I thought I had the plot all figured out in the beginning. I thought it was easily predictable – I was wrong.
If you’re looking for a serious flick to sate your thirst for horror this Ominous October, Mass Hysteria might not be for you. If you are, however, looking for an entertaining romp into the dangers of religious zeal paired with mob mentality and dumb tourists; the shenanigans that ensue here would be a fun addition to your Halloween viewing.
If you have access to Shudder, I encourage satire fans to check it out.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3.5/5
P.S. Short scene during the credits.
Movie Trailer:

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