Review: THE WITCH OF HINSDALE (2020)
A while back, we reviewed Hinsdale House, a fictional film about an attempt to make a horror film in a haunted house. As it happens, that house is real and is allegedly haunted. You can even book a tour or watch the ghost cam on its website. The Witch of Hinsdale documents an investigation into that house by psychic Gracie Ray (Psychic: A Gift of Grace) and Paranormal Expert Brian Hopson.
The first part of The Witch of Hinsdale takes the form of Ray and Hopson giving their impressions of the property, intercut with them touring the house with the unnamed property manager and her son. She relates stories about the house as they tour. The son has obvious physical and mental handicaps, and seeing him wander around aimlessly and make faces at the camera feels exploitative. It’s almost a kind of freak show vibe, like he’s just there to give The Witch of Hinsdale a bit of shock value.
After they leave, it’s just the two of them and Michael Henaghan, their cameraman, in the house. That’s when strange things begin happening. A voice tells Brian to get out, right before they get the camera rolling (of course). Gracie gets locked in the bathroom. This makes Brian so mad, he tells the spirit that scaring his sister is not cool.
But that’s the way the whole film goes. We get to see them use dowsing rods but nothing more dramatic than that. Brian says something touched him, but we see/hear nothing. Also, the spirit’s abilities must extend to knowing when the camera is running, because they mostly seem to make noises when it’s off. Even when they say they heard something and play things back with “Enhanced Audio” I couldn’t hear what they claimed to hear. At one point, as they’re walking through the house, a card pops up saying they hear screams, but all we hear is spooky music on the soundtrack.
Similarly, near the end of the film, a card tells us Gracie and Mike start seeing a Shadow Man in the next room. But does he think to get footage of it? Hell no. The Witch of Hinsdale is all tell and no show. We get a few drawings but no footage of anything except a puff of smoke and two lights. No Shadow Men, none of the apparitions they claimed to see. There aren’t even any recreations.
The Witch of Hinsdale manages not only to make Hinsdale House look good, it makes the Ghost Adventures movie Demon House look good. This wouldn’t even cut it as a YouTube ghost-hunting show, let alone something you would pay to see.