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The Hollywood Insider A Savannah Haunting ReviewPhoto: ‘A Savannah Haunting’ 

Inspired By Truth

A Savannah Haunting’ is a new horror film by writer/director William Mark McCullough. Every Halloween we get some new films that impose fear upon the audience. Realistic horror stories have always been my favorite within this genre. ‘A Savannah Haunting’ happens to be based on the really frightful events that happened to William and his family while living at the house his father purchased in 1974. 

We have all heard stories of real haunted houses. Some of us have had paranormal encounters or things we simply cannot explain. There was a score of things that happened to the family while living at the house and so during pre-production, they chose to shoot at the house it all went down in. What an idea this was! 

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‘A Savannah Haunting’ – Production in a Real Haunted House

During production, there were a lot of strange things happening to the cast and crew. They were filming right when Covid shut down the industry and so some left, which might have been a blessing in disguise because people wanted to quit production. Those who stayed got creative and wanted to use the time to document. Who knows what kind of poltergeists they encountered during this period! 

Co-producer Alexis Nelson and William figured that the location of the house just added so much to the film. They both have had experiences in the house, so why not? The area surrounding the house gives the film such an eerie feel. They even went as far as to film the making of the movie, taking advantage of the lockdown, to release a documentary about it as well.  It will be interesting to see what the cast and crew went through when dealing with the demons that the house is said to hold.  

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Multiple mediums and voodoo doctors have mentioned the energy they have felt within the house. The script took its own fun turns, and of course, did use dramatization efforts in order to entertain us. At the end of the day, great writing always comes from personal experience.  

What Happens? 

This tale begins with the Rancourt family courting a new house and eventually purchasing it. They moved to a house in the middle of a Spanish moss-draped forest, away from others. This forest adds character to the film and seemingly prompts the evil things that await inside. Not everyone is happy with the move, and right away things start to go awry.  

Parents Eric (Dean J. West) and Rachael (Gina Shaw) are excited about the move to the new house and only anticipate great things for their family. Their daughter April (Jaelyn Buffkin,) has issues with the move and misses her friends as any teen would. Their son Andrew (Nico Tirozzi,) seems impartial to the move, mentioning in the car that even before the first day of school he had made a new friend.  

That was a little foreshadowing moment about the type of friends the whole family will eventually meet. Neighbors try to warn the family that the energy is dark within parts of the house and even refuse to step foot back in the place. Rachael attempts to throw a doll away a few times, but always finds it back in Andrew’s room, conspiring. This is eerily similar to other films with dolls like ‘Anabelle’, but who doesn’t love a creepy doll? 

The Infamous Use of Lilith

This is where the story spirals into more chaos and hell as the family themselves descend into darkness. Rachael starts having nightmares about Alice and her daughter meets Lilith, who seems to only be concerned about her sexual desires amongst the dead. The name Lilith has been used for centuries in tales of darkness. “Lilit” is actually translated as “night creature’ in old scriptures and plenty of films or shows in this genre treat her name as a demonic figure. Is Lilith good for April and the Rancourt’s, or does she represent the evil buried beneath the house?

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The movie has some great twists and turns as it takes you through Rancourt’s dance with long-forgotten things beneath the house. Spirits and demons have haunted the McCullough family home for decades, and it is spectacular we get to have some form of entertainment from it. This is not your average run-of-the-mill scary film, using manipulation tactics to scare you but rather a filmmaker bent on telling a story that he went through.  

Jump Scare

Halloween always brings us new films and sometimes they can be riddled with what the industry refers to as a “jump scare.” This is the type of moment where they suddenly cut the screen with a loud audio cue with the intention to make you jump. That sort of manipulation is heavily overused in other movies but ‘A Savannah Haunting’ did not rely on this stereotypical technique to scare us a ton of times and instead chose to build dread through writing. Manipulation is not always necessary; filmmakers can lean into the story or the characters driving it, and still give us horror.  

Inspiration Makes A Film

The film takes this haunting and turns it into an experience that is entertaining and fun to watch. Horror films should keep us excited and present us with evil at every turn. This film certainly provides us with the entertainment we all desire at this time of year. The McCullough family should be proud William was able to turn the house into a form of entertainment after it was such a form of fear. 

The film descended on 10/28/2022 upon most on-demand services. Tonight, I can promise you will meet some diabolical characters along the way and get interested in the real stories behind the home. The documentary about the house should be released next year and is also something to watch out for.  

Is this the end for the Rancourt’s?  

Writer/Director – William Mark McCullough

Co-Producers – William Mark McCullough, Alexis Nelson

Cast – Gina Shaw, Dean J. West, Jaelyn Buffkin, Nico Tirozzi, William Mark McCullough

By Nathan Paul Pasquale

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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