Mass Hysteria (2019)

Directors Arielle Cimino and Jeff Ryan, working from a script by Jonathan T. Coleman and Christopher O’Connell, have put together an interesting story: Paige [Geena Santiago, who was in the movie YouthMin from the same creative team) is an actress playing one last role in her hometown of Salem. It’s in a local historical play about the Salem Witch Trials and the only audience is made up of drunk tourists.

During one of the re-enactments, a man dies and the crowd believes that Paige has cursed them. Holy man Samuel Hall (Matt Perusse) gets the crowd enraged and ready to enact their own modern witch trial as our heroine goes on the run.

I loved how this movie takes the, well, mass hysteria that we’ve been living under the past several years and puts it into the context of a horror movie. Everything here — well, maybe not the curse — feels like it could happen. One example is when Paige tries to stop the growing unrest with a Facebook post that makes things get exponentially worse.

Best of all, it’s a quick and quirky sixty-six minutes. It doesn’t have a big budget yet the cast tries hard and the story — which is the important part when you think about it — is well-told.

You can watch Mass Hysteria on Shudder.


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