South Carolina 1991.
Hanging Spanish moss in your front yard? The house screams HAUNTED – run. Instead, a family rents it and moves in. So begins this episode of “Paranormal Witness.”
There’s a padlocked door inside the house? What? And still they move in. The owners of the house want the rug left exactly where it is. Do not move that rug! There is a door that’s got a lock on the outside and the owner says her uncle committed suicide in that room and out of respect, they leave it locked. There’s a big rock in front of the door to an outbuilding and the realtor says “Hey, don’t move that rock for any reason.” As the owner is leaving she tells the oldest victim, I mean son, “You all be careful in this house. It’s full of death.” Gasp.
That night, the son is reading in his room and the doorknob to his room is turning. The door flies open about a foot and stops. He’s waiting for something to come around the corner, and when nothing does, he gets up and goes to look behind the door. Are you blonde? Why would you do that, dude? Nothing was there that he could see, but creak … it’s behind him now. He decides his family will think he’s crazy, so he tells no one.
Next morning we find out there are seven children in the family. Lady, have you ever heard of birth control? Some of the family are playing ball in the yard and, of course, the ball goes into a hole in the dreaded outbuilding and the wife is yelling, “Don’t move that rock!”
Even though her husband has moved the fam into town to study at the local seminary to be a preacher, he obviously options his version of F U and moves the rock. A forceful wind emanates from this small outbuilding and on through the house. That’s not good. Dad, I hope you have some topnotch preacher skills, ‘cause you’re gonna need ‘em.
That night, the Mrs. is sitting in the living room, hears a noise at the front door and sees a man hanging from the tree in the front yard. Cue the stupid music for occupant number two that decides it’s best not to tell anyone.
Hubby is at the seminary most days, leaving the wife alone with seven children – tension. The workload falls onto the shoulders of the oldest son. So he and Mom are cleaning up the house and she is finding dead creatures and old bones in different parts of the house. Not like “a bird got trapped and died” bones, but creepy stuff put together on purpose, like the manufacturer was going for a Halloween haunted house motif. She decides to play ostrich and close that cabinet and move on. Amazing.
The young son is out in the yard and sees his sister waving from the upstairs window and waves back, only to look over and his sister playing in the yard in front of him. So he runs upstairs to investigate. Of course, no one is there. He decides he and his friend James are going to investigate. They decide to break into the locked ‘don’t go into this room for any reason’ room. They open the door and a rush of cold air in the middle of a South Carolina summer emanates from within. Wrong move, guys.
They go in and the room has been frozen in time. They notice the smell of cigarettes in the room and then they hear a loud crash from upstairs. Every door that was closed minutes ago is now open. The kid now realizes the lock on the downstairs door was not meant to keep people out, it was meant to keep something in. Too late.
That night, the Mrs. is trying to chill out when the kids are asleep, and she smells cigarette smoke. She goes upstairs to investigate and it’s coming from inside her room? There is a man standing in her room staring out the window smoking a cigarette. She reaches in to flick the light switch on and nothing. She goes downstairs and tells her oldest son what’s been happening, and he confesses that he already knows when suddenly, jars of food are being thrown around the room, smashing against the wall like someone is throwing them.
Enter the young daughter, Linda, who tells us she’s been having terrifying nightmares about an older woman. She knows they are more than nightmares. Sonny decides he’s got to do something and goes into town and looks through old newspapers to find answers. He finds out a man hung himself in the front yard. Also a young girl fell down the stairs and broke her neck, and there’s another recent death of a man. He doesn’t think they’re all a coincidence.
Sonny arrives home and the family surprises him by throwing a birthday party. Dad gets him his first razor as a gift. I could hear the TV audience yelling, ‘Why don’t you just get the kid a Ouija board and finish him off?!’ Later on, Sonny goes into the bathroom to use his new toy and is saved from a gruesome shaving incident by a tarantula invasion. Who knew? Saved by spiders. I thought that stuff only happened to Kevin Bacon. See? Everything in life can be traced right back to Kevin Bacon.
The next day, he visits the local preacher, who tells him that he has the power. First, anoint each family member and then the house. They must do every entry to the house, windows, doors, and then the chimneys.
Next scene: Sonny is crawling across the roof to anoint the final opening, the last chimney, and he can feel something closing in around him, when out of nowhere, a hornet swarm appears. As it happens, he is allergic to bee venom and he’s getting stung everywhere and starts sliding down the roof and falls. Fortunately, he does not die.
Finally, Dad decides it’s time to move, but Mom wants Sonny and Dad to go back one more time to clean up the house for the new tenants. Really? Hire a cleaning service. As the son sweeps up, he moves the ‘don’t move this rug’ rug and there happens to be a pentagram under it. Damn, I hate when that happens.
When the young owner comes back with two other young women to pick up the keys, she is ticked. “What have you done to the house?” Huh? She stomps back to her friends and says, “We’re going to have to do a séance to get them all back.”
Matthew and his stepfather look at them and see them age before their eyes. They transform from young women into their older versions of themselves – the realtor, the owner and previous tenant. They believe they’re in the presence of witches and they get the hell out of there.