It’s just such a travesty that Adam Wingard’s shot at the “Blair Witch” mythology flopped and has been generally derided by fans alike. I, for one, completely loved “Blair Witch,” not only for being such a unique and terrifying experience, but for the respect Adam Wingard has for the mythology. Even if you never bothered to watch those documentaries about Burkittsville, director Wingard brings everything full circle, including nods to the documentaries, the much derided sequel, and the original film. It’s a legacy sequel, but one that also acts as an impromptu book end to the whole series. After this I don’t know when we’ll ever see anything about the Blair Witch ever again, but it’s a great consolation the series goes out on this note.
Robert Eggers’ debut “The Witch” is a marvelous and absolutely mesmerizing film. It’s not just an incredible horror film, but a fantastic examination of how a family basically tears itself from inside out due to ideas of resentment, sexual repression, and pure isolation. Not many directors debut with a bang, but “The Witch” is a slow burn horror film that begins with the fuse burning and burning until Eggers delivers something of a humongous explosion that will leave audiences speechless. Eggers sets his film on 17th Century New England, where a patriarch of a small family named William is threatened with banishment by a puritanical plantation with his wife, daughter Thomasin, younger son Caleb, and fraternal twins Mercy and Jonas. Vowing to free himself of the puritanical village, William builds a secluded farm at the edge of the woods, swearing to thrive with his family at his side.
It sure is a hard life or Larry Barnes. He’s had a rough time living with an insanely sexy wife Erica, who so happens to be a witch who practices black magic. After failing to curse one of Larry’s business rivals, Larry and Erica clash causing Erica to fall to her death. After casting out his other very sexy female lover and Erica’s sister Maria, she threatens to make his life miserable for causing the death of Erica. After moving on, Amelia, the wife of Larry’s rival is still very bitter and angry about her husband being confined to a wheelchair. Intent on causing hell for Larry, she gives Larry’s new very sexy girlfriend Carol a medallion that Amelia uses as a means of taking control of Carol.
Melissa Joan Hart is really good casting as Sabrina, the young witch who discovers that she has magical powers on her sixteenth birthday. Hart was always able to convey the girl next door charm and otherworldly beauty well, and she is able to transform Sabrina in to an admirable silver screen heroine. Much like the comics that spawned her, Joan Hart plays Sabrina a transfer student from Massachusetts who goes to live with her aunts at Riverdale. She’s fairly new to her school and dreams of becoming one of the senior elite. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she comes from a long line of witches and that her aunts are her witch mentors.
Booboo and Fivel Stewart together at last! I’m glad they waited for that right cinematic project to get together and reveal their inner strength as an on-screen duo. Granted, Fivel Stewart is adorable, but “Warriors of Witchcraft” is one of the most uneventful knock offs of 2013. Especially for a movie with such a low budget, and the casting of Eric Roberts as a the school’s overly eager headmaster. The titular characters Jonah and Ella attend after Jonah is kicked out of his old school for fighting. Feeling the need to look after him, Ella follows Jonah to his new school, and before long discovers that this posh mostly bland private school is being run by witches.
The nineties experienced an odd resurgence in the interest of witchcraft for a while. So much so that even I dabbled in it and Paganism for a while. In my ever expanding love for the occult I took to intensive research of the art of witchcraft, and I think it was contagious for a while. There was the hit TV show “Charmed,” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and of course there were films like “Hocus Pocus,” “Practical Magic,” the revived film version of “The Crucible,” and the rather slick horror drama “The Craft” to help induce the interest in the apparent appeal of the religion. While somewhat fading in to obscurity, it’s still an utterly mesmerizing teen oriented horror thriller and one painfully copied in “The Covenant.”
You just have to appreciate a horror movie that asks you to take it seriously, all the while having an opening theme song of techno pop set to Ron Perlman’s voice quoting bible passages. That’s new. “5ive Girls” is another religious themed supernatural low budget fest that really attempts to think of itself as a sequel of “The Craft.” And trust me if you’ve seen the aforementioned title, then you really have no obligation to see this. Alex just moved into town with her father, and is forced to attend a local reformatory that takes in wayward girls. Alex, of course, possesses telekinesis, and is really disobedient and sure enough, she finds friends in the individuals reform school girls who all discover they serve a higher purpose. They are apparently the Supernatural friends, five girls who possess unique abilities, including Alex who is pretty much Carrie White but hotter. Fans of “Charmed” and the Fairuza Balk vehicle will definitely find interest in this thriller, as it basically really takes a great premise and does nothing really exciting with it.
Sonoda’s “5ive Girls” isn’t an awful movie by any standards, but the attempts at murk and atmosphere pretty much sap every bit of energy and pacing from the story and performances. There are your usual clichés including a sympathetic priest, a monstrous head mistress, lesbian subtext, the usual arguments between the female students, and the constant flashing of the pentagram. “5ive Girls” is such a run of the mill supernatural film that the concept never really garnered any interest my way. The characters are all so interchangeable and forgettable. One can walk through walls, one can heal through touch and yet I really couldn’t point out which girl had which power if you asked me to. The sad fact is that the film really sells itself as a hip Gothic parade of black magic and evil and yet has the lagging pace of “Whispering Corridors.”
Sonoda’s direction really doesn’t add much to the lagging proceedings in the end, and in spite of all the attempts to spin the formula, this story has been done and much better. In a reform school of apparently only five girls, they do nothing but yap back and forth with no real substance or interesting exchanges, and the visions continue just to remind us that we’re watching a horror film. We already know who the demonic entity challenging them is, and we’re well aware that the girl power message will strive to defeat the demon in the end; “5ive Girls” holds no surprises, and is just flat out dull. Sonoda’s supernatural horror flick would be a lot of fun if it wasn’t so boring, rehashed, and cliché. “5ive Girls” has a great concept to it, with some good names behind it, but it just fails to muster anything memorable or entertaining from the groundwork it lays down before us.