Wicked Witches is a new horror movie from Midnight Releasing, written and directed by The Pickering Brothers, starring Duncan Casey, Justin Marosa, Samantha Schnitzler, and Kitt Alexander Proudfoot. The film has won several festival awards, including the award for Best Horror at the 80 Screams International Film Festival.
After being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group demonic, flesh eating witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches honey trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls.
The first part of the movie is a slow burn. It’s moody and melancholy with not much dialogue. Most of what suspense there is comes from the tense relationship between old friends Mark and Ian. There is something clearly not right about Ian, and that’s not an understatement. The filmmakers don’t rely on subtletly to telegraph the state of his mind to the audience. In the real world, Mark would hightail it right the hell out of there no matter how desperate he was for a place to stay, especially after a particularly disturbing scene where Ian drugs Mark by putting something a little stronger than weed in a joint. There are also flashes and visions and dream sequences Mark keeps experiencing of demonic women with black eyes and shark teeth.
Honestly, not much else happens until the movie’s third act where Stevie, Mark’s stoner/cokehead buddy, shows up and all of a sudden there is a raging party happening on Ian’s farm. This is where the movie loosened up and started to feel fun to me. I know the “big party” is a horror movie cliche, but these guys did it well; with the music and cinematography we feel like we’re getting progressively higher and drunker with Mark and Stevie. Everyone is rippin’, trippin’, and rollin’ and what happens as the movie comes to its climax is so surreal and out there that you wonder if maybe everything isn’t just all in Mark’s head.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the end of the movie really delivers for anyone waiting for some good old-school looking gore. The effects are really well done in these scenes and the over-the-top violence doesn’t go fully into camp territory, but it seems like a nod to me to some of the low-budget gore-fests from the days of my youth. There’s a bit of freewheeling, tongue-in-cheek humor there that had me really enjoying myself.
The brightest spot in the movie, for me, was Duncan Casey as Mark. He did an outstanding job; being the main focus of most of the entire runtime of the movie must be difficult for an actor to pull off, but he did it quite well. Towards the end, when the “final girl” trope is turned on its ear and Mark finds himself screaming and running from a coven of killer witches, I find his acting the most enjoyable. He really reminded me of Ash (Evil Dead) at times, covered heat to toe in blood and guts with his sanity shattering into a million little pieces.
I can see why this movie got so many nods on the festival circuit… once it gets rolling, Wicked Witches is a lot of fun- pure grostesque gory goodness. I give it a solid 8/10.
Wicked Witches just ended a theatrical run and is now available on VOD and DVD.