Salem Massachusetts is home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials. 328 years later people still flock to the infamous site to take in the town’s history. They say history repeats itself…and history might be repeating again as Halloween descends on Salem. Right after the first scene of the film, it is clear that Mass Hysteria is going to be cheeky and wild…two of my favorite things! This film is deliciously dark, historically based, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
We see the past repeating itself in a kind of sick and twisted loop. A group of Salem Witch Trial reenactors finds themselves amidst a modern-day witch hunt as one of them is accused of witchcraft. At the center of all this madness is a malicious mob of tourists hell-bent on blaming someone for the maladies that have befallen them. They say history repeats itself and the proof is in this bloody pudding.
This unique story pokes fun at the tourists that visit Salem, which is likely based on a small unfortunate truth (sans murderous mob tendencies of course). People are more entertained by the cinematic tellings of the witch trials rather than the actual historical telling. A larger message could be argued here about the destructive power of groupthink and its potential to be a catalyst for Mass Hysteria, but I am an optimist and would rather focus on the good stuff… the blood ‘n’ guts.
There is just the right amount of gore, enough to satisfy, but not so much that it relies on entrails for shock value. One example that comes to mind is a delicious montage Paige and her fellow thespians noshing on burritos while some tourists go full-on Regan-in-The-Exorcist as they vomit towards an untimely death. Geena Santiago is a pleasure to watch on the screen as Paige. She acts as a very strong center-point that the wild and wacky side characters can return to in order to keep the film from losing all control. Jeff Ryan should also be recognized for his role as Paige’s best friend Turner. He delivers a dynamic and
The film has an authentic feel and it should, considering it was filmed on location in Salem! But the authenticity does not solely stem from the location, it also comes from its sincerity. Mass Hysteria never takes itself too seriously and that is its most endearing trait. That levity makes this film less of a horror and more of a dark comedy. No matter what it is classified as… Mass Hysteria is worth a watch…and a rewatch!
8 out of 10