The Geechee Witch: A Boo Hag Story (2024) Review
Long time readers will know I’m a fan of Jeremiah Kipp (Slapface, Siren) since I reviewed the original short version of Slapface. So when I got a chance to review his latest film The Geechee Witch: A Boo Hag Story, of course I jumped on it. The script revolving around the Boo Hag, a nasty sounding creature from folklore I hadn’t heard of before, was just icing on the cake.
Leah (Tryphena Wade, One Night Stand Murder, Abduction Runs in the Family) and her husband Asa (Stephen Cofield Jr., Catch-30, In A NY Minute) have been through a lot. First they’ve had to deal with Leah’s miscarriage and now Asa’s mother has passed away. He hasn’t been home in years, and Leah has never seen his family estate or where he grew up, something he tries to blow off when she asks him about it.
However, since is father (Lance E. Nichols, American Outlaws, Body Cam), needs to get away from the memories and is moving to Florida they’ve taken him up on his offer to move in. It’s a decision she’s soon starting to second guess as she hears cryptic fragments of conversations, wakes up with what look like claw marks on her arm and sees doors opening and closing on their own.
The script is by J. Craig Gordon, Phoenix Higgins and Jason Walter Short (The Last Night), all of whom have plenty of experience on film sets if not at writing. They’ve crafted a slow burning story that manages to incorporate a lot of familiar elements, although The Geechee Witch doesn’t always use them in the ways you that might expect
Marital issues stemming from a lost pregnancy and infidelity, the estranged son returning home and home being a huge old plantation house. A strange servant (Basil Wallace, Rapid Fire, Return of the Living Dead III) with a beautiful granddaughter (Sinclair Daniel, Insidious: The Red Door, The Other Black Girl) who has eyes for the new lord of the manor, and of course, voodoo all play into The Geechee Witch’s plot and are allowed to simmer for most of the first hour. The result feels something like an updated Southern Gothic.
Kipp, with an assist from cinematographer Dominick Sivilli (The Overnight, The Sadist) gets plenty of mileage out of these elements, settings like an abandoned and overgrown shack through the first hour. There’s rarely anything more explicit than a glimpse of something in nightmares or out of the corner of the eye, but combined with the atmosphere it’s quite entertaining.
The Geechee Witch is also quite restrained for a film about a creature that wears the skins of its previous victims, with the film’s few gore scenes saved for the final act. Mickey Busch (The Forest Hills, Scott Free) and Rachel Kepley (Faceless After Dark, Mine Nine) make sure they and the Boo Hag herself (Nikelola Balogun, The Cove, Eyes Wide Open) look quite effective when they arrive. The CGI fire in the film’s climax is better than average, but still obviously computer generated.
The cast, while mostly unfamiliar, are all quite good and manage to avoid letting some of the script’s domestic dramatics slip into soap opera territory. They also do a solid job of selling the film’s supernatural elements, this is especially true of Wade, who has to play a character on the edge of hysteria without actually going over the top with her performance.
The last act does stumble a bit with some rather clumsily worked in exposition about the Geechee Witch and the curse that hangs over the characters. That and a final shot that will provoke more eye rolls than anything are my only real complaints with the film, though.
The Geechee Witch is a solid film with good performances and nice pacing backed up with several scares, a couple of surprises and some effective mayhem in the final act. It should satisfy most viewers looking for an evening’s fright fare.