Clara (Ava Psoras) and Cassandra (Alexa Mechling) are sisters and as with all teenage sisters, they don’t often get along even though Clara does her best to look after her little sister. Then one day after an argument, Cassandra is found dead and soon Clara starts to learn about the family curse that has been passed on to her.
Dealing with her grief and trying to find a way to move on, Clara finds herself being tormented by ghostly apparitions, hallucinations and strange occurrences as she starts to feel the grip of her mourning take her over.
Occurrence at Mills Creek is a feature length melodramatic horror movie directed by Don Swanson and co-written by Betsy Lynn George and Joe Fishel, based on Swanson’s short film, Mills Creek. Framed as a ghost story, Mills Creek feels like a story from another time and almost takes a Victorian inspiration from the way it tells the story.
There is no real explanation or emphasis as to how the supposed family curse manifests itself, leaving it up to the audience to speculate on what’s going to happen. This may work for some audiences, but it may also bore some as with the random encounters that Clara experiences, there is no hint as to what will become of Clara.
Shot on a very low budget and with a cast that’s lacking in experience, Occurrence at Mills Creek can feel slow and often aimless and those expecting something of a higher quality may be disappointed. However, during the movie’s final act it does manage to increase the tension as the true nature of Clara’s family curse is revealed.
With its limited budget then it may very well be a blessing in disguise that Swanson’s ghost story isn’t all that ambitious in terms of story. Being inspired by a different kind of ghost story that audience’s may not be accustomed to may bring them something a little different.
However, although there are many horror stories in cinema that may have a familiar tone and formula, those who are looking for something a little more exciting and familiar may want to look for something else.
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