The Haunting at Saint Joseph’s ranks among the prime examples of cinematic catastrophe. With extremely bad writing and terrible performances, this movie will steal an hour and a half from your life that you will never get back. The film follows Lily, a Muslim woman who is recently engaged to her fiancé on a friends’ trip to St. Joseph’s Guesthouse, surrounded by a history of human sacrifice. Although, since the movie has no coherent storyline, we can neither get a proper insight into the history of this human sacrifice, nor understand what connection this history has with Lily, but let’s try to review the story of the movie and see what happens with Lily till the end.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Centuries ago, at St. Joseph’s guesthouse, which used to be a church, two nuns hanged a young girl, accusing her of witchcraft. Ever since this horrifying event took place, the guesthouse has been rumored to be haunted. Back in the present, we saw a Muslim doctor, Lily, who was unable to concentrate on her work. She failed to provide emergency treatment to a patient in need, which prompted her to hate herself. But her colleague, Jess, stood by her side, encouraging her to move on. Lily was engaged to a psychiatrist in London, Kit Smith, and planned to go on a trip with him and his sister Rachel in the holidays.
Lily took her friend Jess along, as well as Aaron and his girlfriend, who were mutual friends of Kit and Lily. They set out on their journey to St. Joseph’s guesthouse and ran into another guy named Marc on the street. Marc was a car thief and a junkie, but hiding his identity, he took a lift on their truck. Upon their arrival at St. Joseph’s guesthouse, Kit and the rest of his friends pulled a bizarre and scary prank on Lily. Kit even hired a local actor and acted out a ritual of human sacrifice that terrified Lily. As she was asthmatic and this intense situation caused her breathing difficulty, Kit paused the play and revealed that they were just trying to scare her.
Rachel couldn’t stand Lily for a bit. She hated her religious belief in wearing a hijab and praying five times a day. But the lingering concern in her mind was that she believed she had seen Lily somewhere before but couldn’t recall it properly. Meanwhile, Jess, who was the closest friend of Lily, asked her if she had told Kit about her past. Lily asserted that she might not be able to confront Kit with the baggage of her past, so she had better kept it hidden.
What was Lily’s past?
Lily couldn’t ignore the horrifying presence surrounding her since her arrival at the guesthouse. Sometimes things took a darker turn when she started hallucinating the deaths of her friends and even felt her own death approaching her. As she started pondering over the history of the hanged girl, she started feeling the negative energy inside. Her past life, which she had always wanted to forget, began to haunt her.
Meanwhile, Rachel, who was a very aggressive and short-tempered woman, decided to dig into Lily’s past in order to protect her brother. As she uncovered her mysterious past, we came to know that Lily was a former drug addict and heavy drinker who was arrested for driving under the influence. She sustained a severe injury in a car accident, but when the proper medical intervention saved her life, she decided to pursue a medical profession and became a doctor. However, she realized her mistake, and to make amends, she not only got sober but converted to Islam, covering herself up, to rinse away all the sins she had committed in her life. But she made a huge mistake by keeping this information from her fiancé.
Kit had a similar history. His father was a heavy drinker who never let his family know about his habit. After his father lost his life in a car accident, Kit learned about his drinking habit and felt betrayed by his father. So, very naturally, it would be a huge problem if his partner betrayed him in the same way. However, Rachel, who was hellbent on destroying the trust and relationship between her brother and Lily, finally recalled that she had met Lily in rehab. Rachel took some help from her friends and dug up Lily’s history, uncovering the history of drug addiction in Lily’s life. She even managed to retrieve Lily’s pictures with booze and mugshots after her arrest. She sent those pictures to her brother, which resulted in straining Kit and Lily’s relationship.
Did Lily survive? Who killed Rachael?
At night, Lily decided to cook food for her friends, but Rachel confronted her and got into a fierce altercation with her. As Lily stood up for herself, warning Rachel not to come between her and Kit, Rachel pushed her down the stairs, almost injuring Lily. However, Lily survived thanks to Marc, who stepped in to rescue her. As Lily broke down in tears and began to express her grief, Mark tried to kiss her. Lily didn’t allow it, finding it weird as to why everyone was acting differently after coming to the house. In the meantime, when Lily and Marc were downstairs, Rachel spiked the food with liquid LSD.
Later at night, when the group enjoyed the meal, unaware of the LSD in it, everyone started to lose their minds. Except for Rachel, who was the mastermind behind it, and Marc, who sneaked out to steal Rachel’s truck. Aaron started to feel uneasy and went to his room. Lily, as a doctor, thought it was her responsibility to check on him, but Aaron’s girlfriend, who grew immensely paranoid, prevented Lily from coming closer to Aaron. However, as Lily went back to Kit, he confronted her with the pictures. He even expressed his anger and behaved violently toward Lily. Afterward, Jess came to console Lily, but instead of comforting her as a friend, she started making inappropriate advances towards her. Lily was startled to see her best friend behaving in such a way, so she asked her to leave the room. Simultaneously, in another room, Aaron and his girlfriend had an intense fight, causing Aaron’s girlfriend to lose her sanity and suffocate Aaron to death. But as she couldn’t bear the pain of killing her lover, she committed suicide. As Lily and Jess found her dead body, Rachel found Aaron dead. Lily, being a doctor, tried the best she could, but she was unable to save either of them.
Meanwhile, Kit, who was also having severe hallucinations due to the drug’s effect, suffered an injury, resulting in his death. Rachel realized that her brother’s blood was on her hands, but she attacked Lily, blaming it all on her. As Jess intervened to save Lily, Rachel put her to death and beat Lily unconscious. She took Lily to the woods in order to kill her in the same way the nuns had hanged the young girl centuries ago. But even though Lily was gravely injured, Rachel didn’t manage to kill her. Before taking a step to kill her, she got hit by a truck and lost her life. It was her own truck that Mark had stolen earlier. However, when Kit was injured, Rachel had called him to get some help. As Marc decided to come back to the guesthouse to help Kit, he arrived late, and instead of helping Kit, he killed Rachel, saving Lily’s life.
The Haunting at Saint Joseph’s is an unnecessary hour and a half of torment that should be avoided. If you have seen some great horror movies with similar themes like Midsommar, House on the Haunted Hill, Evil Dead, and many more, then I hope you don’t go for this one. The movie had many opportunities to comment on religious hatred, criticism of individuality, and mental health, which would have given it an edge, but the extremely poor execution and the worst performance made it worse, rendering the film a waste of time.